Defence investing heavily in our security

25 October 2018

“Never before has a government invested so much in our security.” Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput is investing EUR 9.2 billion in the purchase of modern and efficient defence equipment. In the air, the F-35 is replacing the F-16, and there will be new combat vehicles and reconnaissance drones. The Chamber approved the investments today.

The F-35: a boost for defence and industry

The most striking innovation is the replacement of the F-16 fighter aircraft with the F-35, which is also American. “One of the most important investments of the strategic vision is the replacement of the air combat capacity. That is not surprising if you know that we want to be a reliable and supportive partner of the EU, UN and NATO,” explains Steven Vandeput, who adds that choosing the F-35 will give our industry a boost. “Thanks to our partnership with the US, new technologies and techniques will be developed and jobs created. This is about much more than just buying planes. We are offering our industry a long-term perspective.” Several NATO member partners, including the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Italy, have already opted for the F-35. The first new aircrafts are expected to be delivered by 2023.

French combat vehicles

In addition, Minister Vandeput is investing in new combat vehicles. The new combat vehicles were developed as part of the French Scorpion programme: 60 medium ‘Jaguar’ type and 382 light ‘Griffon’ type vehicles will be purchased. Commissioning is planned for 2025-2030. “With this investment, the government is explicitly choosing to modernise the existing motorised land forces so that they can remain the spearhead of Belgium’s collective security efforts. The new combat vehicles are necessary to continue to play a role in operations and to guarantee the individual safety of troops.”

European drone project

Finally, the government is authorising negotiations with the United States to purchase two systems of MALE drones. MALE stands for Medium Altitude Long Endurance. These are reconnaissance drones that collect intelligence from the air. “MALE drones play an increasingly important role in operations, but at the European level there is a shortage of this type of drone. In making this purchase, the Ministry of Defence is committing itself to the future, and at the same time we are helping to reduce that European deficit,” says Steven Vandeput. The drones should be fully operational from 2025. The drone purchase enables Belgium to make an important contribution to the European drone project. “This purchase will be another step for us towards more European defence. The intention remains to invest in the future in the development of our own European MALE-drones, a project initiated by France, Germany, Spain and Italy,” concludes Minister Vandeput.

How valuable did you find this article?

Enter your personal score here
The average score is