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Tags: europe | gunpowder supply vulnerable | china | saab

Europe's Gunpowder Supply Vulnerable as China Dominates Components

By    |   Saturday, 20 April 2024 01:17 PM EDT

Europe's defense industry is facing a critical challenge as Saab CEO Micael Johansson raises alarms about the continent's heavy reliance on China for essential military components, including gunpowder ingredients and metal for submarines and warships, Politico reported.

Johansson emphasizes the vulnerability of Europe's security, pointing to Beijing's dominance in supplying key materials vital for ammunition production. His concerns highlight the urgent need for diversification in the supply chain to mitigate potential crises.

Johansson's warning in an interview with Politico underscores broader anxieties within the European defense sector, which is grappling with heightened demand for weapons and ammunition amid escalating conflicts like the war in Ukraine.

The Saab CEO stressed the imperative for governments to streamline environmental regulations, facilitating the diversification of critical military supplies away from Chinese dependency. He urged Western defense firms to explore alternative sources for essential components, particularly propellant powder, crucial for firing artillery shells.

The warning resonates amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, where European support for Kyiv is hampered by ammunition supply shortages. With Europe set to ramp up shell production to 2 million annually by 2026, the shortage of propellant emerges as a significant bottleneck.

Efforts to address the crisis are underway, with the European Commission allocating substantial subsidies under the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) to bolster powder production. However, challenges persist due to the reliance on nitrocellulose, primarily sourced from China.

Johansson's cautionary remarks coincide with broader initiatives by Brussels to mitigate dependencies on Beijing and safeguard economic security. The EU's acknowledgment of risks associated with reliance on Chinese raw materials underscores the imperative for strategic diversification.

Beyond nitrocellulose, which is made from cotton fibers, Johansson highlights concerns about Europe's dependence on Chinese and Russian sources for materials like aluminum and titanium, essential for aerospace and defense industries. He calls for expedited environmental approvals to facilitate diversification efforts.

The urgency of diversification is underscored by ongoing initiatives by European defense manufacturers to explore alternative materials, such as tree-based cellulose, as a substitute for cotton-based cellulose sourced from China.

While efforts to diversify supply chains are underway, the critical nature of the challenge facing Europe's defense sector necessitates swift action to reduce vulnerabilities and ensure long-term security.

"Environmental approvals needed to get these materials from other parts of the world, including Europe, take up to 10 years to get approved," Johansson added.

"We can't have it like that if we want to change these sorts of dependencies going forward."

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Europe's defense industry is facing a critical challenge as Saab CEO Micael Johansson raises alarms about the continent's heavy reliance on China for essential military components, including gunpowder ingredients and metal for submarines and warships.
europe, gunpowder supply vulnerable, china, saab
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2024-17-20
Saturday, 20 April 2024 01:17 PM
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