A U-turn from the UK, as seen in last month’s Integrated Review, typifies concern over the risk of Chinese interference in strategically important industries.
Belgium's purchase of US F-35 jets 'against European interests': Macron
Belgium's decision to buy US-made F-35 fighter jets instead of a rival European aircraft "strategically goes against European interests," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.
Belgium announced on Thursday it will purchase Lockheed Martin's stealth jets in a multi-billion-euro deal to replace its ageing fleet of F-16s in a blow to rival French aircraft maker Rafale.
'I regret this choice. This wasn't just the Rafale offer, it was also the Eurofighter, a real European offer,' Macron told reporters in Bratislava.
'The decision is linked to a Belgian procedure, to the political constraints of the country, but strategically goes against European interests.'
He said: 'Europe must develop a real capacity for a European defence industry, in all the countries that believe in this venture.'
The F-35 ran against a bid from the Eurofighter Typhoon, developed by a European consortium that also comprises Italy's Finmeccanica and Airbus.
The Belgian government said it would buy 34 radar-evading F-35s to replace its F-16 jets, from 2023.
Prime Minister Charles Michel had attempted to ward off criticism saying Belgium was looking to both Europe and the United States for its defence needs.
Minuteman engineering and programme management support deal is worth $2.31 billion.
New sustainment plans could see Lockheed Martin reduce operating costs of the F-35 to $25,000 per flight hour.
Some €600 million is being spent in Germany on a range of defence procurement initiatives.
Design research work is underway in Russia on a new ICBM to replace the RS-24 Yars.
DARPA is working with industry on 'unburdening the warfighter' by developing advanced and ultra-lightweight personal protective equipment. Its Personalized Protective Biosystems programme pre-dates COVID-19, but it arguably assumes even greater importance for defence procurement in the context of the pandemic.