The chief executive of Airbus believes that Europe is not adequately prepared for potential hazards posed by Russia and the current US president, Donald Trump.

The chief executive of Airbus believes that Europe is not adequately prepared for potential hazards posed by Russia and the current US president, Donald Trump.

According to the CEO of Airbus, Europe needs to increase its defense expenditures and prepare for a potential conflict with Russia or the possibility of the US leaving NATO under Donald Trump’s leadership. The continent is currently ill-equipped for such situations.

Guillaume Faury, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest aerospace and defence company, said it was a “defining moment” for the continent’s defence industry, after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 brought war to western Europe’s borders.

According to him, European countries have placed excessive dependence on the United States for their safety and military equipment, causing them to be insufficient in crucial areas of defense. He called on Europe and the UK to collaborate and combine competing fighter jet initiatives in order to improve effectiveness.

Faury, who is the head of a company that produces various types of military equipment and is responsible for building 50% of all commercial aircraft worldwide, has expressed concern over the increasing danger posed by Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader has warned NATO countries that they may trigger a nuclear war if they send troops to intervene in Ukraine, a response directed towards France’s Emmanuel Macron, who suggested this as a possibility.

“We are currently in a time of peace,” Faury stated to the Guardian. “In my opinion, Europe is not currently adequately prepared for a potential conflict with Russia. Let’s speak openly and honestly. It appears that Russia is increasing its military strength.”

“It has been almost eighty years since the end of World War II, during which a system was implemented with the purpose of preventing attacks rather than preparing for conflict. However, if we desire to be ready for potential variations of involvement and strife, we must increase our readiness.”

Faury, a former military helicopter test pilot who became chief executive of Airbus in 2019, said Trump’s warnings about quitting Nato should be a wake-up call to Europe on both security and availability of equipment. The former US president, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has repeatedly called on Europe to spend more on defence and recently said he would encourage Russia to attack Nato members he deemed financially “delinquent”.

Faury stated that if NATO continues to fulfill its role and provide the necessary protection, it will remain a reliable force. However, if there are indications that this may not be the case, it is important to be prepared for this potential scenario. The previous warnings during Trump’s presidency serve as a reminder that if the next US leader expects Europe to handle its own affairs, it should not be taken lightly.

Europe’s dependence on US technology has grown in the past few decades, leading to a decline in its own manufacturing industry. Countries such as the UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands all use Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, while British forces are equipped with Boeing’s Apache and Chinook helicopters, C-17 cargo planes, P-8 surveillance jets, and E-7 airborne early warning and control aircraft, all of which are manufactured in the US.

On Friday, members of the public accounts committee expressed that the United Kingdom’s government did not have a believable strategy to finance the armed forces and was becoming more dependent on its allies.

To have full independence and control over its future and the events at its borders, Europe must prioritize self-sufficiency in defense procurement, according to Faury. He emphasized the need for Europe to increase its independence and sovereignty in this area, as currently it relies heavily on others and lacks collaboration and investment on a large scale. The majority of defense systems are sourced from outside of Europe and mostly from the US.

According to him, the creation of sixth generation European fighter planes should avoid repeating past errors where resources were divided between three competing aircrafts: the Eurofighter, Sweden’s Gripen, and France’s Rafale. He also mentioned that the number of European orders for F-35 has surpassed the total orders for Eurofighter and Rafale.

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Reworded: Collaboratively, the UK, Japan, and Italy are constructing a modern fighter aircraft named Tempest. This project involves the cooperation of BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA, all of whom are instrumental in the production of tanks, jets, engines, helicopters, systems, and missiles. In contrast, France, Germany, and Spain are currently working on an opposing project for a future combat air system, with contributions from Airbus and Dassault, makers of the Rafale.

Faury emphasized the importance of collaboration between European countries, including the UK, as being in industries where size is crucial. In comparison, the US has focused on one fighter while the European countries have selected three different fighters.

“It is evident that as Europeans, we must unite our resources to create a strong and unified weapon system. With the current level of insecurity at Europe’s borders, it is crucial that we come together for the sake of security and defense. The option of not doing so is not feasible.”

This is a critical moment for Europe’s role in defense and security.