A report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies warns that all but two countries in Europe, the UK and France, are outspent by BAE, Lockheed Martin and Boeing when it comes to military research and development. 

IISS is a a leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict. The Military Balance 2018, the annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics from the IISS suggests that European states are ‘increasingly conscious that the world is a dangerous place.

Military capabilities on the continent have, however, become hollowed out as states first reaped a post-Cold War peace dividend and then made defence a discretionary activity in the wake of post-2008 austerity’ say IISS.

The report states:

“Our figures show that Europe’s growing defence investments are still not fully geared towards preparing European armed forces for future challenges. For most, defence R&D remains limited.

Indeed, in 2016 three global defence firms – BAE, Boeing and Lockheed Martin – each spent more on defence R&D than all but two European states. Only France and the UK outranked them. And allocations for other costs, like military pensions, remain high in some states.

In 2017 for instance, military pensions absorbed over 33% of the Belgian and Portuguese defence budgets.”

The report discusses moves to recover and rebuild capability have been given impetus by stronger US pressure on European states to do more for their own defence, but claims they will take time to bear fruit.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Geoffrey Roach

BAE and the UK at the top. Looks good to me. Perhaps some of our moaning minnies will see this for what it is. A well thought of UK company with worldwide connections and the UK itself investing in the future.




Hand in hand goes UK Defense Policy.

Meddling by the U.S. or helpful – Thoughts?




The truth being spoken to those in power should always be welcome, regardless of where it comes from.


Helpful. We’re not in the group of countries who really are taking the p*ss and freeloading big-time off the USA as far as defence is concerned but, with us only just meeting the NATO 2% target and that only after throwing in stuff like pensions we are hardly shining stars. It doesn’t hurt to remind us of that fact and of how much damage any further cuts would do in terms of our most critical ally’s view as to whether we are pulling our weight or not.


The UK is definitely head and shoulders above most of our European allies – when the inevitable time arrives that – Germany for example – badly needs the Bundeswehr, or the Marine, or Luftwaffe, think about where they’ll be – in a very uncomfortable spot… The U.S. military is also in dire need of a major overhaul as well. Both equipment, doctrinally, and procurement wise… Not so much more spending – but WISER spending IMHO.



Is this why buying anything built by BAE costs so much?

Geoffrey Roach

They are trading all round the world and particularly in the USA so maybe it just seems to be costly but compared to who?


The reality is that N.A.T.O. was never more than a shop front. Apart from the north Americans – don’t ignore Canada – and the U.K. the others contributed by handing over cash for American products. I imagine the Cold War strategy on the Central Front was keeping the Europeans from getting in the way. We must also remember France left the organisation in 1961 and only re-joined when the U.S.S.R. was down and out. How do they get away with playing by their rules? Is it something to do with Lafayette, 1783 and all that?