July 28, 2023: The chief executive of Airbus has come a lack of European collaboration on major defense projects following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine “frustrating.”
Guillaume Faury told that while there were pre-existing projects such as France, Germany, and Spain’s Future Combat Air System, which Airbus is operating on, Europe was not “showing unity in addressing the new threats and solutions.”
“That’s very hard, and it’s quite frustrating to see that the responses that have been provided so far are mostly national and not much of a European nature,” he said Wednesday.
“We think Europe should review and be more consistent when working together on large programs.”
Asked whether this could mean mergers and acquisitions creating more prominent defense players in Europe, Faury said, “Well, a lot of things can happen without M&A, and a lot of the schedules that have been successful in the past were mostly of a cooperation nature, sometimes with joint ventures.”
Earlier this month, Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus’ defense chief, said in a Financial Times interview that those political discussions about steps toward European defense programs had been “lip service.”
Schoellhorn said Europe remained too fragmented, and long-term clarity was needed before the industry could invest in the “procurement of bigger weapon systems behind aircraft and tanks.”
On Wednesday, Airbus results showed that revenues at its defense and space division decrease 8%, attributed to “delays in Space Systems and delivery phasing in Military Air Systems.”