Taking Stock: Central and Eastern European Defense Spending and Current Inventories

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Since Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has continued its aggressive posturing in the region. In response, countries across Europe have reassessed their defense spending and begun to prioritize military modernization programs (NATO Defense Spending).

Especially in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)[1], countries are rapidly increasing their military spending and focusing on updating and replacing rapidly aging equipment. As they do, the composition of their inventories is shifting from largely ex-Soviet equipment to majority Western equipment.

The charts below trace this evolution, looking at the composition of CEE countries’ current inventory by each platform’s region of origin[2], the market share of each region of origin from 2018-2023 as CEE modernization programs get under way, and near-term opportunities that remain in each of the CEE countries.

Summer 2019 updates on the Top Unawarded Programs

  • Romania Corvette:
    • In January the Romanian Ministry of Defence announced that it will suspend the tender for the procurement of four new multi-role corvettes until irregularities discovered in the tender process are investigated.
  • Czech Republic Infantry Fighting Vehicle:
    • The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Defence plans to sign a contract for at least 200 Infantry Fighting Vehicles around 2020. Field trials were completed in fall 2017, but a tender has not been released yet. The Czech Republic would like to buy IFVs in seven variants – combat, command, reconnaissance, engineer, medevac, recovery and reconnaissance for artillery.
  • Czech Republic Attack Helicopter:
    • The Czech Republic is considering either the UH-60M or the UH-1Y/AH-1Z after the State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Czech Republic.
  • Bulgaria Fighter Aircraft:
    • The State Department approved a $1.67B sale of F-16 Block 70/72 fighters. However, the price tag is too high for the Bulgarian government. Negotiations are underway to reduce the price.
  • Bulgaria Modular Patrol Vessels:
    • Bulgaria anticipates that Fincantieri, Luerssen and MTG Dolphin to submit offers with the first vessel expected to be delivered by the end of 2023.

[1] For this analysis, the CEE region covers nine countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

[2] Platforms based on Russian license but built by local suppliers in CEE countries are considered CEE origin platforms.

For more information on Central and Eastern Europe Defence Spending Trends, see Dominik Kimla’s latest white paper, MSPO Preview: Central and Eastern Europe Defence Spending Trends.

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