Belgium Defense Industry, Defense Export and Import

Key Points

  • Belgium’s military expenditure, which stands at US$3.1 billion in 2019, is anticipated to grow from US$3.1 billion in 2020 to value US$3.4 billion in 2024, registering a CAGR of 1.99% over the forecast period, primarily fueled by the ongoing military hardware procurement.
  • Military expenditure, on a cumulative basis, is anticipated to be US$16.3 billion, which is higher than the US$14.4 billion spent during the historic period.
  • Belgium is an active participant in joint operations with the European Union (EU) and peacekeeping operations with NATO and the United Nations (UN), and as such, seeks higher spending in terms of its defense sector.
  • The defense budget as a percentage of GDP is expected to decrease marginally from an average of 0.56% during 2015-2019 to 0.49% over 2020-2024.
  • The country’s per capita defense expenditure is expected to increase from US$268.3 in 2019 to US$288.9 in 2024.

FN Hertsal Scar Rifle

The Belgian government’s austerity measures and focus on reducing public debt have been the primary reasons for the decline in the defense budget from US$3.5 billion in 2013 to US$2.6 billion in 2017, reflecting a CAGR of -7.08%. Although the budget is projected to remain low over the next three years, an expected economic upturn in the second half of the decade will lead to an increase in the defense budget from 2018 onwards. On a cumulative basis, expenditure over 2018-2022 is expected to be US$16.2 billion, higher than US$15 billion spent during the historic period.

Commitment towards operations with NATO allies and the continuation of ongoing military hardware procurement programs are expected to drive the country’s military expenditure.The country’s defense expenditure is expected to focus on the procurement of equipment to augment its air defense capabilities, enhancing operational capabilities of the current fleet of naval vessels, and communications and surveillance systems over the next five years.

The Belgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) allocated an average of 22.3% to capital expenditure during 2013-2017, and is expected to increase marginally over the forecast period to reach an average of 22.9%. Opportunities related to the procurement of defense equipment in Belgium are expected to be in areas such as multi-role aircraft, multi-role aircraft MRO, transport aircraft, missiles, and arms and ammunitions.

Belgium’s defense budget is to cumulatively value US$16.3 billion over 2020-2024. Belgium is streamlining its forces, and no longer has a separate army, air force and navy, but rather as a unified defense entity with land, air and sea components, served by a joint medical component. Opportunities related to the procurement of defense equipment in Belgium are expected to be in areas such as naval vessels, multirole aircraft, multirole aircraft MRO, transport aircraft, missiles and arms and ammunitions.

The country’s military expenditure, which stands at US$3.1 billion in 2019, is anticipated to grow from US$3.1 billion in 2020 to value US$3.4 billion in 2024, registering a CAGR of 1.99% over the forecast period, primarily fueled by the ongoing military hardware procurement. The defense budget as a percentage of GDP is expected to decrease marginally from an average of 0.56% during 2015-2019 to 0.49% over 2020-2024. The country’s per capita defense expenditure is expected to increase from US$268.3 in 2019 to US$288.9 in 2024.

Belgium’s budget allocation for defense capital expenditure is expected to increase from 17% in 2019 to 22.7% in 2024. Capital expenditure over the forecast period is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8.27%, from US$562.5 million in 2020 to US$773.1 million in 2024, owing to the significant uptick in weapon procurement plans, as well as procuring defense equipment to replace outdated ones.

The Belgian homeland security expenditure valued US$4.4 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$5.5 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of 4.90% over 2020-2024. This expenditure is primarily driven by Belgium’s focus on combating the rising incidences of cyber-crimes, terrorism and drug trafficking. As Belgium’s defense force is relatively small, it often cooperates with the Netherlands and Luxembourg regarding joint exercises and procuring high-cost equipment. Belgium’s defense force’s area of expertise is demining, with an emphasis on sea demining.

In 2018, arms exports for Belgium was 16 million US dollars. Though Belgium arms exports fluctuated substantially in recent years, it tended to decrease through 1999 – 2018 period ending at 16 million US dollars in 2018.The description is composed by our digital data assistant.

Arms transfers cover the supply of military weapons through sales, aid, gifts, and those made through manufacturing licenses. Data cover major conventional weapons such as aircraft, armored vehicles, artillery, radar systems, missiles, and ships designed for military use. 

Domestic Companies

  • FN Herstal
  • Sonaca SA
  • Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie SA
  • SABCA Group
  • Esterline Belgium BVBA
  • Asco Industries
  • Mecar SA
  • Thales Belgium
  • Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • Airbus Helicopters

Import from Foreign Industry

  • Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Embraer
  • Airbus
  • NH Industries
  • Leonardo (SIAI Marchetti)
  • Dassault/Dornier
  • MOWAG/ General Dynamics European Land Systems
  • Steyr-Daimler-Puch
  • Spezialfahrzeuge (SSF)/ General Dynamics
  • Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS)
  • Mecar S.A.
  • Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • Airbus Helicopters

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