October 1997

Chapter 9: Production Logistics

Main Objectives of Armaments Cooperation

904. The main objectives of NATO armaments cooperation have traditionally been derived from four fundamental goals: political, military, socio-economic and technological.

Political Objective

905. A central objective of NATO armaments cooperation is to enhance the cohesion and vitality of the Alliance through a demonstration of unity in a key area of the common defence effort. In particular, effective transatlantic arms cooperation strengthens the very axis upon which NATO rests. For over four decades, NATO has provided the framework for pursuit of cooperation among member nations in a broad range of armaments programmes: important milestones in this effort were the HAWK, SIDEWINDER and SEA SPARROW missile programmes, the ATLANTIC Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), the TORNADO Multi-Rôle Combat Aircraft (MRCA), and the NATO Helicopter for the 90's (NH90).

Military Objective

906. A key objective of NATO armaments cooperation is to promote standardization to the level of, at least, interoperability. The ability of Alliance forces in peace, crisis and war to operate in concert is the main tenet on which rests, ultimately, the effectiveness of NATO's conflict prevention and collective defence capability. This ability, which extends across the range of joint and combined operations on land, at sea or in the air, has always been dependent on achieving the highest degree of standardization possible in operational concepts and procedures, communications and information systems, battlefield consumables and equipment.

Socio-economic Objective

907. Another central objective of NATO armaments cooperation is to offer scope for a more efficient allocation of limited national resources to research, development and production, and the maintenance of a robust Alliance-wide defence industrial and technological base. Though progress has been made towards this longstanding objective, there are limits to the extent to which individual nations can or wish to apply to defence procurement the resources of competition and market rules that characterize the civil sectors of economy and commercial trade.

Technological Objective

908. Lastly, an enduring rationale for NATO armaments cooperation has been to share technological and defence research resources between the Allies, so that NATO nations collectively maintain a technological lead over any potential adversary. In the new security environment, the Alliance's military capabilities will rely even more than in the past on technological superiority. Significant reductions of standing forces will be accompanied by an even greater emphasis on the modernization of residual forces.

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