The Future of Collaborative Weapons Acquisition
Highly sophisticated technology has changed the economics of defense, placing the development and production of many weapon systems beyond the reach of individual countries. This paper reviews nearly two decades of European experience in collaborative acquisitions, primarily that of Britain, France, and Germany. Their motives are to preserve independent national defense industrial bases, recognizing that this depends on the success of international industrial consortia producing for markets larger than national needs. Each country has been guided by the need to protect future weapons and technology sources, as well as domestic employment and weapons export markets. The author gives a brief history of NATO's role, outlines national motives behind European collaboration, points out its concentration in high technology areas, and discusses common military requirements and issues in U.S.-European collaboration. In the future collaborative efforts may be more necessary than ever; however expansion of joint programs will be restricted by budget limitations.