Lack of waste in this area is so big, so that the credibility of Spain as a reliable partner and ally is in danger. All the prestige laboriously earned by our Armed forces (both outside and in own land, is about to throw overboard, like the important business for this industry. After the terrible accident in which two members of the air forces died, the topic of the investment becomes to be popular. From Civismo we have been warning in which our Air Forces are. Before a exhausting process of continuous cuts back over more than a decade, their capabilities are at the end of their tether.
The situation is such an extent that the credibility of Spain as a reliable partner is in danger. All the prestige laboriously earned by our Armed forces (both outside and in own land, is about to throw overboard, like the important business for this industry. A good example of that is the unilateral ebb of Méndez Núñez (F – 104) of the US combat group. Despite the technicalities argued by the Government, the truth is that it was a huge humiliation for the spanish crew, leaving the feeling that it left his ally at the time of greatest need.
Also, this affronts has a cost. When the José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero government decide to move away our troops from Iraq, bilateral relations with the US were severely damaged. Our Washington ambassador, Jorge Dezcallar, says in his book “it was worth it” how he was relegated to wait hours at the door of the American president. In the case of Méndez Núñez, the affront became clear at the summit of the G-20. But this “symbolic” acts are not the only consequence.
Spain doesn’t have to not pay much attention to this decisions, because it can damage exports from the punished defense industry.
Nowadays, Navantia is competing for the contract US navy, valued at more than 16.000 million euros. This program, known as FFG, has the objective of build 20 multipurpose frigates. This was the reason among others, of the integration of the Spanish frigate in the American group. In fact, the Méndez Núñez address of the model on which Navantia’s proposal is based. This, belonging to Álvaro de Bazán category, has been one of the first
European warships to incorporate the AEGIS combat system, which allows it to integrate with any american group and act in equal conditions. This qualities, with the experience that accumulates the F-100, constitute the best guarantee for Navantia. Besides, to underline the american interest in the project, the secretary of the navy of this country visited the ship during his period of instruction in Norfolk (Virginia).
Spain shouldn’t considered these decisions lightly, because they can damage the exports of our much damaged industry defense
This case, is the most known of the operation, but it isn’t the only. The new fragates (f-110) will include the AEGIS system, ESSM missiles of the American company Raytheon (already used in the F-100), and it’s already being negotiated the incorporation of AESA, an S-band electronic scanning radar that will be one of the most advanced in the world when it will be installed, and it will jointly manufacture the spanish company Indra and the American company Lockheed Martin. And not only the navy is affected by the danger of that opportunities be frustrated. In relation to the air Force, the training plane Textron T6C (EE.UU.) represented one of the priority options to occupy the C-101 position in the short period. This model, with more than 40 years like training plane and that has become sadly known for the tragic event in which commander Francisco Marín Núñez died last August is already at the end of its useful life.
So, there is a mutual interest (which is not reciprocal), in the maintenance good conditions between both industries. In fact, Spain shouldn’t considered these decisions lightly, because they leads to consequences that can damage the exports of our much damaged industry defense.
On the other hand, the future of the government will have to face with a reality: lack of investment in defense costs lives. Unintentionally falling into demagogy, the truth is that the lack to which our FAS have to face are savages. Not only is in risk the loss of the crucial capabilities, like the airship (the case of the Harrier-II), also the proper survival of our professionals.
Because of this, the public professionals will to put on top the adequacy of the tools that our FAS need in relation to politics. This is, give preference to national interests. Probably, we are in a utopy, but we cannot stop considering it a goal.
In consequence, the electoral programmes,that the main political parties will present have to express the need for a bigger investment in defense among their priorities. If not, as everything points, ignorance will be demonstrated, or worse, the lack of goodwill of our representatives to defend the interests of our country. Well, at it is indicated in the document Operating environment 2035, “the significance of the well protected (national sovereignty) is such that requires the FAS to provide the necessary military capabilities to successfully carry out those tasks. ”
Time will tell.