Cracks emerge in Franco-German export control plans

06 February 2019

A Royal Air Force Typhoon armed with an MBDA Meteor BVRAAM missile. The RSAF signed a contract in 2015 for its Typhoon aircraft to receive the Meteor BVRAAM system. Source: MBDA/Geoff Lee

News has emerged in French media of local companies facing problems fulfilling export contracts due to more stringent export regulations in Germany.

As a result of the tightening of export controls in Germany, critical components have not been cleared for export to end users, resulting in delays as French suppliers seek substitute components or potentially have to cancel orders.

The first reports of the issue emerged on 5 February in French news outlet La Tribune , which said that Germany had blocked the export of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) to Saudi Arabia. Germany halted defence exports to Saudi Arabia in October 2018 following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

MBDA Deutschland subsidiary Bayern-Chemie supplies the propulsion system, booster, and ramjet for the Meteor BVRAAM. Jane’s sources reported in early 2015 that Saudi Arabia had signed a contract valued at USD1.1 billion for Meteor systems to arm its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

An MBDA spokesperson declined to comment to Jane’s on the issue.

Export controls have also had an impact on the armoured vehicle market, with the CEO of French armoured vehicle manufacturer Arquus, Emmanuel Levacher, citing problems with obtaining subcomponents from German sources for platforms destined to countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, and India.

In comments reported by La Tribune on 6 Febraury and confirmed by the company, Levacher said that components for vehicles, ranging from seals and gearboxes to engines, had been delayed by German regulators. These components were difficult to source from non-German companies, leaving the firm to look to alternative suppliers, such as the United States, for solutions.

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