BERLIN/FARNBOROUGH The German-French arms conglomerate, EADS, wants to cooperate with US corporations in the development of a world-wide rocket-defense-system. With this cooperation, the German side specifically connects its demand for a ,,technology transfer"which it has demanded for decades. Berlin expects the United States to open access to its technologies and programs to the European armaments industry, since that knowledge will reduce Europe's military-technological backwardness vis-à-vis the USA. This participation is supposed to enable the development of the necessary technology for its own space-weapons systems.

Not a ,,Constructive Partnership"

Participation of German companies in US missile development dates back to the 1980s when, within the framework of the ,,strategic defense initiative"(SDI), the militarizing of space was being urged. SDI was to become a defense system, operated from space which, using laser weapons, could destroy each incoming missile while in flight. In March of 1986, a secret German-American ,,memorandum of Understanding"was signed as a first step, to permit German firms and research institutions extensive participation in the SDI program. After that, contracts amounting to more than 50 million US dollars were awarded to the German armaments industry. However, the German side did miss out on a ,,constructive partnership"because access to the decisive technological knowledge was refused.

Lacking ,,Ability to Cooperate"

Another cooperative project was accompanied by conflicts due to German demands for access to military technology. In 1995, the USA, Germany, France and Italy signed preliminary agreements for the development of a European missile defense system, called ,,Medium Extended Air Defense System"(MEADS). This concerned mobile defense systems to protect their own military in their respective areas of deployment. The German arms industry regarded this project as a ,,test case for the transatlantic ability to cooperate."When the desired access to military technology was not granted, the defense ministry broke off German participation in the MEADS program in November of 2000 but had to rescind due to Washington's pressure shortly afterwards. Finally, in February of 2001, Chancellor Schroeder demanded Europe's inclusion in the US missile defense plans and renewed the claim of ,,participation in the technology."

New Start-up...

In the center of the attempts to close the military technology gap with the USA with transatlantic cooperation, is the German-French arms conglomerate EADS, which already participates in the MEADS program. Already in July of 2002 EADS agreed with the US corporation Boeing to cooperate in the military area which would extend to armed missiles. After differences concerning the war against Iraq complicated joint projects for a while, the European arms industry will become more integrated into the missile defense system.

Following a Berlin convention of specialists concerned with the missile defense shield, worth billions, the German-French arms conglomerate signed preliminary agreements with the US corporations Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman during the British air and space exhibition in Farnborough. The Italian Alenia corporation and the British BAE systems are to be integrated into this cooperative endeavor which concentrates explicitly on construction of missile defense systems. As far back as July of 2001, the Russian state air and space agency, Rosaviakosmos, signed an accord with EADS which plans cooperation and joint ventures with Russian state owned and private companies as well as air and space research institutes. Thus, EADS gains access to already existing and developing Russian missile and missile defense technologies - as well as war technologies, since the accord specifically includes cooperation in the military arena.

... of an Aggressive Nature

The corporations' cooperation in armaments technology, connected with claims of access to military technology, corresponds to Berlin's pressure for a ,,new organization of European space travel."This targets the utilization of civilian space travel for military purposes and, specifically, the development of their own technology necessary for space armaments systems. By developing an independent ,,civilian-military space policy,"the US military monopoly in space is to be broken and outer space should become available to German-European ambitions of global power. There is also interest in projects of a purely military character (anti-satellite weapons - ,,killer satellites"- in space). Concurrently with the build-up of its missile defense system, the US government has intensified the promotion of weapons systems specifically directed against satellites. The inference is that European institutions cannot yet participate openly in the development of such weapons systems in the near future ( ,,due to their aggressive nature"). Nevertheless, the necessary technology must be developed and made available - a task assigned to the arms consortium EADS which has a key role in European space projects.

See also earlier articles The End of ,,Civilian Power", Criminaland More War

Kommt der kleine Bruder von SDI? Die Plaene der USA zum Aufbau eines nationalen Raketenverteidigungssystems;
Zwischen Raketenabwehr und Weltraumruestung - Was macht Europa?; Wissenschaft und Frieden 2/2001
US-Raketenabwehr und Technologietransfer mit den Vereinigten Staaten, Streitkraefte und Strategien 16. Juni 2001;
US-Konzerne holen EADS zur Raketenabwehr; Financial Times Deutschland 20.07.2004
Lockheed Martin and EADS Exploring Partnership on Global Missile Defense Initiative; 20.07.2004
Northrop Grumman and EADS to Collaborate on Ballistic Missile Defense Programs; 22.07.2004