- BAE Systems looking to leverage consortium's existing role in Belgian aerospace industry.
- Firms also looking to other industrial development areas.
BAE Systems – the Eurofighter consortium lead on the Belgian and Finnish campaigns – has been busy sharpening its bids for requirements in the two countries, Jane’s has been told.
Belgium formally launched its requirement for a replacement for its Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet in March 2017, with a Request for Government Proposals (RFGP), with requests for proposals going out for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Saab Gripen E, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Dassault Rafale. Boeing has since withdrawn from the competition.
According to the RFGP, the Belgian government has opted for a government-to-government approach as the country and its industrial base “currently do not control all of the required competencies or facilities”, with cost sharing of common and non-recurring costs being regarded as “paramount”.
Belgium represents a difficult market for engagement, with the country’s highly federalised structure creating a competitive environment, as regional interests between Wallonia, Flanders, and Brussels can have a decisive impact upon larger federal – and even international – decisions.
As the lead in the Belgian market, BAE Systems has looked to take a consortium-wide approach to the proposition to the bid, drawing in on the relationships that Airbus and Leonardo both have in Belgium to help build on the proposal. Statistics released by BAE Systems highlighted estimated annual spends by consortium partners of over EUR375 million (USD420 million) in Wallonia, EUR130 million in Flanders, and EUR95 million in Brussels, with Airbus spending EUR500 million a year with Belgian companies.
The supply chain includes over 200 companies, ranging from aerospace companies such as Sabena and Sonaca, to subsystems suppliers that include FN Herstal and Thales Belgium.
“We’ve been looking at their regional and federal industrial vision statements out to 2050, which articulate their own interests, and particular sectors and technologies that they want to pursue,” BAE Systems’ Campaign Delivery Director for Belgium, Anthony ‘Foxy’ Gregory, told Jane’s.
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