Revitalization of the national defense industry - main objective at BSDA 2024

George Marinescu
English Section / 23 mai

Revitalization of the national defense industry - main objective at BSDA 2024

Versiunea în limba română

In the context of the bloody conflict in Ukraine, the revitalization of the national defense industry has become a priority for the government, which cannot afford to make the mistakes of the past 34 years, when many weapons factories were closed and those that remained in operation were threatened with bankruptcy, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said yesterday, at the opening of the Black Sea Defense&Aerospace (BSDA) 2024 arms and military technology exhibition, an event that is taking place these days on the platform at Romaero Băneasa.

Marcel Ciolacu added: "In the last year, we took part in a race against the clock, overcoming situations that seemed impossible, everything, in order to ensure the budget financing, the necessary external partnerships and a new legal framework for the Romanian factories to fully resume their activity . And the reality is that today, most units of the defense industry work in three shifts, make unprecedented hires and run re-engineering projects, some with European money. (...) Today we have the perspective that the Romanian defense industry will bring, in a short time, impressive contracts and run billions of euros in the economy, horizontally developing dozens and hundreds of other supplier companies (...). The Mechanical Plant in Cugir will produce weapons and armaments with NATO technology, together with a German company. Romarm and the American concern General Dynamics are developing a partnership for the modernization and development of new capacities for the production of large-caliber ammunition, to NATO standards. And Romaero, to whom many were already singing the praises, returns as an important supplier of maintenance and repair services to Boeing and Airbus aircraft, and will sign a memorandum with a traditional partner from Hungary. Beyond these agreements, there are large projects, already initialed with concerns from the United States, Germany, South Korea, France and many other countries. We will make major investments in Romania, to develop new and modern units, and the fact that we obtained, for the first time, a 50 million euro financing from the European Commission for the powder factory developed together with Rheinmetall, shows that in this field it works at a new pace".

The Head of Government also stated that Radu Oprea, the Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, is preparing another ambitious project regarding the Romanian drone (ed. - which would be manufactured at Carfil Braşov) and that he would like the BSDA edition 2025 to see a stand dedicated to this project.

For his part, the President of the Senate, Nicolae Ciucă, former Prime Minister and former Minister of National Defense, stated that in order to face the challenges we must invest in defense.

Revitalization of the national defense industry - main objective at BSDA 2024

Nicolae Ciucă said: "Romania had a tradition in the area of the defense industry that it is starting to resume and that it can quickly capitalize on. Recently, steps have been taken in the right direction, which I have encouraged both from the position of Minister of Defense and from that of Prime Minister. I mean important partnerships and contracts for the defense industry. Romania will have the largest powder factory in Europe, in Braşov county. Our country will build the building, and the European Union will finance the equipment of the powder factory, speaking of an investment of almost 400 million euros. After 20 years of inactivity, the armament factory in Reşita will soon produce shells under a contract signed by Romarm, as a Romanian subsidiary of a British company. At the beginning of this year, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Center for S-70 Black Hawk Helicopters within Aerostar S.A. Bacău became operational. In partnership with Aerostar, Lockheed Martin is already analyzing the opportunities to integrate support services for other products at Bacău. Last but not least, I welcome the announcement of the Korean company Hanwha Aerospace, which intends to establish in Romania an industrial hub for Europe with the aim of supplying infantry fighting vehicles under endowment programs to contribute to the defense capabilities of the Romanian Armed Forces and to the growth of the local arms industry. For the future, I think we need to invest in higher education to raise specialists in the production of military equipment. We need to stimulate the import, or better said, the transfer of know-how through the partnerships we are developing with NATO member states".

Romania is focusing its efforts, in the current security situation, on strengthening the defense capacity at the national level and within the allied framework, in order to effectively deter and combat all types of threats, said Angel Tîlvăr, the Minister of National Defense.

The head of the MApN specified: "Belonging to the strongest political-military alliance in the world obliges us to permanently increase the degree of interoperability of the Romanian Army with the allied and partner armies, by harmonizing the standard procedures of operation and by equipping with modern and compatible military technique and equipment (...). MApN permanently and dynamically adapted its endowment plans for the Romanian Army, with a view to acquiring high-performance equipment and military equipment, which would ensure the capabilities necessary to fulfill the missions and commitments assumed towards NATO. The Romanian armed forces have already taken important steps in the process of equipping them with state-of-the-art technology. In this process, we aim to ensure the security on the national territory of as large a part as possible in the latest generation equipment, which we need. It is obvious that such an approach is necessary in the current regional and global security context, but at the same time it allows us to preserve and create new jobs in this strategic field. We will continue the collaboration between the MApN and the Ministry of Economy, so as to harmonize the Army's endowment needs with the possibilities of the Romanian defense industry in both the state and private sector".

The BSDA 2024 edition, which is taking place these days in Bucharest, on the Romaero Băneasa platform, is attended by over 400 global manufacturers of military equipment and technology from approximately 30 NATO member states or partners. Along with the exhibiting companies, there are over 300 high-level foreign delegates in Bucharest, representatives of 55 states, from all continents, according to a press release issued by the organizers, who enjoy the partnership with the Ministry of National Defense from our country . At the exhibition, all five operational domains are represented - military, land, air, naval, cyber and space - the star being the 5th generation multirole aircraft, the F35, which the United States Air Force heard for the first time at an exhibition from Europe. Moreover, the American company Lockheed Martin, as the manufacturer of this fighter plane, presented a model, in real dimensions, of the same aircraft.

The event is attended by several companies from Europe and the Republic of Korea exhibiting self-propelled howitzers and tracked infantry fighting vehicles for the Ground Forces. As two years ago, visitors will be able to admire the American tank M1A2 Abrams, which would be part of the equipment of our country's armed forces. Therefore, the defense industry of the United States of America has the most important representation at BSDA 2024 - 47 exhibiting companies, followed by Germany (17 companies), France (15), Great Britain and the Czech Republic (12 companies each) and South Korea (11 participating companies, including Hanwha which is the manufacturer of the 150mm tracked self-propelled howitzer).

Among the companies that brought combat equipment and technology to the 50,000 square meters of the platform in the Băneasa area, are Rafael Advanced Defense Systems - the Israeli company that produces the high-performance Iron Dome air defense system, the Raytheon company - the manufacturer of the Patriot system, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, L3Harris, Elbit Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Airbus, DAMEN, IVECO Defense Vehicles, Beretta, Romarm, Aerostar Bacău, Pro Optica and BlueSpace Technology.

Along with the equipment and technologies proposed by commercial companies, the event hosts an exhibition of equipment from the Romanian Army, the United States Army and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, including Black Hawk helicopters, operated by IGSU.

As part of BSDA 2024, BlueSpace Technology, the only Romanian company accredited at NATO level as a TEMPEST (equipment system for ensuring information security) manufacturer, is going to sign today the Memorandum of Understanding with Marshall, a British company with a tradition in the world defense industry of over 100 years. Recently, the BlueSpace Technology company tested the first Romanian drone jamming system.

Also today, the Israeli company Rafael presents at BSDA 2024, in a global premiere, the new Iron Shield air defense system and the Iron Lance interceptor. The company's portfolio includes renowned air defense solutions, from the Spyder All in One (AIO) with recently field-proven capabilities, to the David's sling interceptor, to the advanced Drone Dome with its C-UAS and C-UAV capabilities, which detect and neutralize UAS and UAV threats. The Spyder AIO is the newest member of the Spyder family with battle-proven capabilities that integrates all the main functions of multiple systems into a single 8x8 vehicle, operational in just minutes on difficult terrain, with low reaction time and minimal logistical footprint . Drone Dome provides a vital level of protection against emerging threats through various means. The portfolio also includes Sky Spotter, a passive EO early warning system that detects, tracks and manages multiple targets simultaneously, offering the possibility of detailed monitoring and countinue, 24/7, of selected targets. The Israeli company also produces Spike precision-guided tactical missiles, which have been in the service of the Romanian Armed Forces for 25 years, during which time they reached the 6th generation, NLOS.

Also within BSDA 2024, the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, through the Carfil SA Company, a subsidiary of the national company Romarm SA, is going to sign tomorrow a strategic industrial cooperation agreement with the American manufacturer of military and civil drones - Periscope Aviation. This agreement marks a first for the Romanian defense industry, being the first strategic partnership of a domestic company in the field of military and civilian UAV construction. The project comes in response to the growing demand for such equipment from various industries, with a special emphasis on the field of defense.

If the first two days of BSDA 2024 are dedicated exclusively to official, military and business visitors, tomorrow, on the third day, access to the outdoor exhibition is also allowed to the general public.