France-Egypt Plane Deal Blocked by US, Fearing Spread of Missile Tech – Expert
AFP 2018/ ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT Military & Intelligence01:01 24.02.2018Get short URL
The US has blocked Franco-Egyptian negotiations on the sale of additional Rafale fighter jets to the Egyptian Air Force by refusing to export an American component aboard the Scalp cruise missile, French outlet La Tribune reported.
Alexandre Vautravers, an official at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), discussed with Sputnik the impact of US companies being in the chain of contractors on European military suppliers.
“It would be great if France’s manufacturing industry could produce entirely French products, but we should take into account the development cost of each component in a complicated missile like Scalp. What if no country can afford purchasing these missiles,” Vautravers said.
“The problem is not solely in the Rafale fighter jet — a French aircraft with predominantly French components — the problem is in the cruise missile that can be fitted with this specific warhead, turning it into a weapon of mass destruction. Obviously, the US government doesn’t want a country like Egypt to possess such technology,” he explained.
According to Vautravers, this type of missile could influence power dynamics in the whole Middle East and create a problem across the region if it was used against a country like Israel or Libya.
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“This is why the US has decided to turn to the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), the rules that the US agreed to in late 1940s in order to establish control over the transfer of the US-manufactured technology to communist nations and the Soviet Union.”
Adrien Caralp, an official at the Center for Industrialization (Centre d’études des Modes d’Industrialisation — CEMI), told Sputnik that it is getting troublesome to find domestic suppliers and control their chain while producing complicated armament systems. This is where risks and problems come from. In the current economic and political situation it is hard to produce high-technology weapons based solely on domestic suppliers, he said.
“Of course, there are examples of successful cooperation in Europe — for instance, between France and the UK — but it is not easy to have a collaborative relationship because every European country pursues its own interests,” he explained.
“However, in June of last year, the European Commission suggested that a fund should be created… to support European defense capacity. This additional funding could potentially change the situation.”