all this can send to Ukraine

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The debate on whether or not Spain should send weapons to Ukraine, how will we finally do, has put on the table a fact that is not new, but that we have often overlooked in times of peace: our country is the seventh largest arms exporter in the world. A position to which we have climbed extremely quickly in recent years (in 2016 we were eleventh) and which places us ahead of states with a strong military industry, such as Israel or South Korea, which sell less, according to Estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The numbers. According to latest data provided by the Ministry of Defense, the current turnover of the arms industry in Spain exceeds 6,000 million euros per year (2019 figures). In Spain there are 373 companies registered in the Registry of Companies of the General Directorate of Armament and Materialof which 124 have exported in the last year for which aggregate data is available, 2017. These organizations generate a total of around 295,000 jobs, although only 21,000 of them are directly related to the military sector and 30,000 indirectly.

The latter happens because the companies that manufacture weapons in our country are usually dedicated to several more civilian activities, such as Indra or Airbus, so not all of their employees work in the military industry. This itself makes it difficult to calculate an exact figure for the volume of business they generate in defense, since they do not usually separate that amount from the total turnover of their businesses. All the aforementioned data is official, offered by the Ministry of Defense, and difficult to verify by other means.

The weapons we sell the most. Among the weapons that Spain exports the most are military aircraft, a subsector that accounts for 70% of our country’s total sales abroad, largely thanks to the presence of several Airbus factories, according to data from the Ministry of Defense. Some of the aircraft we export are military transport aircraft A400MC-295 and CN-235, which are manufactured in Seville, the NH90 helicopterswhich are built in Albacete, or the A330 MRTT tanker planes and fighters euro fighter, which are assembled in Getafe. Although the latter are destined, above all, to the Spanish army itself.

Spain is also one of the 12 countries in the world that has the capacity to manufacture the complete cycle of a military aircraft: design, production, certification and maintenance. Likewise, companies specializing in aeronautical defense subsystems also have significant activity and international prestige. For example, the company Technobit ensures that its different aeronautical components are present in one of every four military aircraft in the world.

The military aeronautical sector is also the sector with the most direct jobs in Spain, with a total of some 10,250 workers, which represents 45% of all those who work in the defense industry in our country.

military ships. The second subsector that sells the most abroad is shipbuilding, with 9.1% of all exports. Among the best-selling boats, the F-110 frigate, from Navantia. This industry is especially important in Galicia, Andalusia and Murcia, communities that capitalize on 51% of the construction of military ships in Spain.

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ground vehicles. In third place by export volume is the subsector of military land vehicles, with 8.5% of total sales. In this field, Spanish industry has the capacity to design, maintain and develop specific subsystems such as systems or sensors for light military automobiles.

As for heavy vehicles, the construction programs for armored vehicles stand out ASCOD Pizarro and the 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle (VCR) and the participation of the Spanish industry in the British armored fighting vehicle program FRES (Future Rapid Effect System, ASCOD).

electronics and technology. The fourth subsector by sales volume is that of electronic components and ICT, with 5.1% of total sales. These devices and systems are associated with the aforementioned vehicle and ship construction projects, such as the F-110 Frigates or the 8×8 VCRs. According to the Ministry of Defence, this is one of the most dynamic fields in the Spanish military industry and the one with the greatest growth prospects.

The rest of the subsectors. The four indicated subsectors concentrate almost 95% of the total sales of the Spanish arms industry abroad. Others, such as space (communications systems, navigation or monitoring and space surveillance) or weapons (rifles, submachine guns, ammunition and missiles) barely account for 1%, each, of total exports.

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Territories that sell the most. The military industry of our country is unevenly distributed throughout the territory. The Community of Madrid is, by far, the one with the highest volume of construction and export of war material, with 65.7% of total sales. It is followed by Andalusia, with 13.6%, Castilla-La Mancha (5.8%), Galicia (4.6%) and the Basque Country (3.1%).

The countries to which it is exported the most. Regarding the destination of war equipment, Spain’s main clients are other countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), among which the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States and Canada stand out. Outside the Atlantic alliance, the main buyers of our military industry are Australia, Singapore, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, according to latest data from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

The main manufacturers. Among the main Spanish manufacturers of the war industry, stand out Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus defense division), Santa Bárbara Sistemas (armored vehicles, turrets for tanks, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, light cannons and assault rifles), Indra (systems and sensors for military vehicles and surveillance and reconnaissance systems, missiles or cyber defense, among others), Navantia (military ships, submarines and systems, equipment, weapons, ammunition and radars for these ships) or Iveco Defense Vehicles (light military vehicles, medium and heavy, their systems and maintenance).

The debate on whether or not Spain should send weapons to Ukraine, how will we finally do, has put on…

The debate on whether or not Spain should send weapons to Ukraine, how will we finally do, has put on…

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