We reproduce the intervention of the President of the Tecnobit-Grupo Oesa, Luis Furnells, in the event organized by the Club Dialogues for Democracy. A Defense Technology and Innovation Strategy for the Armed Forces of the 21st Century “, which took place on March 9th and was chaired by the Secretary of State for Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro.
At a complex moment like the one we’re going through, I want to focus on the value of public-private collaboration to work with institutions and industry to develop a defense technology and innovation strategy for the armed forces of the 21st century.
In my view, the future of our armed forces is related to the innovative capacity of the Spanish defense industry, its traditional ally, to equip itself with the technology needed to meet the major challenges facing our armed forces. The Defense Technology and Innovation Strategy recently published by the Department of Defense shows this clearly by setting the goal of developing advanced solutions that provide technological advantage and superiority.
It is precisely this development of advanced solutions that offers the advantage and technological superiority that constant innovation requires. This innovation is carried out by the Spanish defense industry and catalyzed by public initiative. The more, the better, on a purpose in order to guarantee technological, operational and sustainable national sovereignty (in essential functions for our armed forces) while at the same time creating prosperity and sustainable progress for our country.
Today, the challenges of ensuring the security of our society and our way of life are becoming more complex. Talking about the defense industry has never been more important because of the variety of threats we face today. Our security lies in the surveillance of the borders and the airspace, no one doubts this, but more and more it is located in other difficult-to-identify borders, such as cyberspace, in the security of our communications and our data, the environment in this area, the attacks are more and more numerous and refined.
The key lies in technological development, ie through public-private cooperation we can develop strategic technologies, through sustainable investments and tractor projects that promote innovation and also create high-quality jobs. We have clear examples of programs that act as a lever for innovation and technological development, with technologies that are often used twice.
In addition, I am very proud to point out that the Spanish defense industry is on the same level as any other European country in terms of technological development.
It is enough to remind you of its high level of competitiveness. It is a purely export sector in which more than 70% of its sales are generated in international markets. It ranks fifth in the world ranking of defense exports by country. In 2019, the Spanish defense industry spent 9% of its turnover on R&D activities, which is 8.4% of national spending in this category.
Let us remember that the defense industry always creates a strong multiplier effect on economic activity. For every euro invested in this sector, 2.5 euros are generated in the overall economy and contribute to territorial cohesion, as it is made up of 71% of SMEs, 23% of midcaps and 6% of large companies throughout the national geography.
This solid industrial fabric can handle any challenge at European level, however relevant it may be.
To do this, the industry specializes in technological niches to which every company must apply its greatest innovation efforts, and therefore the investor to develop new products, products that are state-of-the-art.
The public initiative is the first engine of this innovative process by launching national tractor projects rather than providing foreign solutions (as is the case with the 8×8 or F-110, or by participating in the FCAS, but we need this to continue to do so to do with a number of programs that the DGAM has on the launch pad and awaiting funding, such as SIRTAP or the trainer aircraft, to name just two examples, enable the national industry to develop capacities in these niches and put them in converting cutting-edge products provided by our armed forces and recouping that investment through export.
In short, to ensure, thanks to public-private cooperation, a technological, operational and sustainable national sovereign with essential capacities for our armed forces and dual application for the rest of Spanish society.
For all these reasons, I feel it is necessary to further develop this public-private, multi-ministerial collaboration from the public and the driving force, including, generous and committed from private to collective, in order to be able to respond to the needs of the armed forces Time to do your invaluable work.
To continue contributing to the level we all desire and successfully implement a defense technology and innovation strategy for the armed forces of the 21st century, it requires both a stable financial framework and a consistency with the challenges we face and the determination to carry it out to equip our armed forces of the 21st century with technological, operational and sustainable national sovereignty.
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