“It is time to decide which technologies we want to lead as an industry and as a country”



The Spanish Association of Defense, Security, Aeronautics and Space Technology Companies (Tedae) integrates Spanish technology industries with a presence in these areas of activity. Your president, Ricardo Martí Fluxá, analyzes the situation of the sector at a time when Spain is developing programs that are among the best of their category worldwide.

How has Covid impacted the Spanish defense industry?

Our industry has highly globalized supply chains, which have been affected by the harshness of this sudden pandemic and the restrictions that came with it. In this year and a half we have seen projects come to a halt, deadlines have been delayed or there have been liquidity difficulties. Despite this, Defense has proven to have an added value that has been fundamental in mitigating the impact of the crisis generated by Covid. Its anti-cyclical nature and its resilience have helped it to withstand the impact of the crisis better than other economic areas.. This shows, once again, that it is a strategic sector and a refuge for the Spanish economy due to the carry-over effect on other sectors that its activity implies.

Do you think that sometimes the strategic importance of the sector has not been recognized?

Our sectors play a fundamental role in exports. In 2020 our industry exported 55% of its turnover. In innovation, Tedae industries invested in 2020 volumes equivalent to other leading sectors of the economy, such as automotive and pharmaceuticals. One of our roles at Tedae is to publicize the return that the Defense industry has for the economy and for society due to its innovative and driving nature. The Defense industry available to Spain is a collective success that we must share. It has been achieved based on a lot of effort and specialization of human teams, a public-private collaboration that has invested, with a long-term vision, in technologies that have become increasingly necessary in multiple areas of life, and cooperation with international institutions. Stable financing policies give security to our developments. Undertaking them in a known financial context, sufficient and with continuity, allows us to advance with a firm step and more agility. It must be taken into account that these are dual technologies that are transferred to other areas such as electronics, aviation or Earth observation for the forecast of natural or mobility phenomena.

Can the economic context compromise this investment in R&D?

Our high-tech industries face enormous challenges that are impossible to overcome without a shared commitment with the Administration for permanent and ambitious investment in R & D & I. Aspects such as digitization, sustainability, new technologies or the ecological transition are unavoidable challenges that cannot be achieved without R & D & I. It is time to decide which technologies we want to lead as an industry and as a country. The defense industry represents for Spain an enormous heritage that has a technological credibility recognized throughout the world that should serve as a lever to achieve leadership in certain technologies that will later be used by society as a whole.

Does the sector aspire to have a leading role in European funds?

Our approach is a clear commitment to the digitization of processes and environments from an industry that has demonstrated its great tractive capacity. The funds from this Recovery Plan are an exceptional opportunity to accelerate this digitization, a revolution that we must lead and that will help us to preserve the security of our manufacturing processes of products and services. If we do not have digitized companies we will not be able to assimilate the technology that is coming and with which we will have to work.

“European funds are an exceptional opportunity to accelerate our digitization”

What role do you expect Spanish companies to play in the future European FCAS fighter plane?

Our role is going to be and is being active. Spain has joined the project at the same level as France and Germany, so our companies are working side by side with their Franco-German counterparts. As with the Eurofighter program in the 1990s, the FCAS should serve to develop a whole new series of cutting-edge technologies, which will bring a qualitative leap to the entire supply chain involved in the program and which Spain can lead.

Could the international projection of the VCR 8×8 vehicle manufacture be a boost for our firms?

Totally. The 8×8, as it was conceived, incorporates the latest advances in protection, communications, observation … This will provide a endless capabilities to the Army. Its versatility means that many countries can see in this program a solution to their needs, especially in a European framework that is increasingly aware of the commonality of systems. These large-scale projects make our activity visible and represent a testing ground and improvement of the latest technology. Going ahead in this type of development will give us a competitive advantage when comparing ourselves with other countries.

What does the activation of another great naval program, the construction of the F-110 Frigates, mean for the sector?

With the F-100, Spain reached the development capacity of a very high capacity combat ship, which has allowed some of the largest export contracts in our industry to countries such as Australia or Norway. With the F-110, we take a leap to that capacity by applying new technologies and launching a cutting-edge aspect such as the digital twin. It will be a truly leading frigate and a lever for the digitization of the entire shipbuilding sector.

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