Strengthening cooperation in the munitions sector

  • 04 Sep. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 09 Sep. 2014 17:04

NATO is continuously seeking to share the burden of providing expensive defence equipment more equally across the Alliance. A new multinational project has been launched to develop innovative ways of increasing the availability of munitions to the Alliance.

© Danish Ministry of Defence

With Denmark in the lead, the project will focus on multinational approaches toward air-to-ground precision-guided munitions (PGMs) and will establish an overall framework for strengthening international cooperation within the munitions sector.

The project addresses lessons learned from recent operations where countries ran out of stocks of guided munitions and could not quickly or easily use the stocks of other air forces. The initiative was launched in the margins of the NATO Wales Summit on 4 September following the signature of a letter of intent (LOI) by defence ministers from six NATO member countries (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Portugal and Spain).

“Danish experiences from the air operation over Libya in 2011 showed us that national munitions stockpiles are not always sufficient … and they cannot easily be re-supplied within the short timeframe needed during operations,” said Lieutenant General Per Pugholm Olsen, Danish National Armaments Director. “Therefore we must pursue innovative and more flexible approaches towards provision of munitions in general and specifically air-to-ground precision-guided munitions.”

The six Allies will consider a wide spectrum of multinational arrangements in the field of PGMs – potentially including mutual loan arrangements, common warehousing, multinational procurement and the creation of multinational stocks of weapons – with the overarching objective to ensure a more effective and efficient contribution to future operations by European states. The United States is not a participant as such, but is actively supporting the project in addressing US export control issues for US-type PGMs.

This effort demonstrates the success of the Smart Defence initiative and is an example of Allies working together using scarce resources more efficiently by promoting the joint acquisition of important capabilities.