Main headlines from this issue

Annual report to congress: Offsets see historic low as COVID-19 takes its toll

US suppliers’ offset activities have reached historic lows. In 2020, the figures declined across almost all metrics, including the number of new agreements, the value of the agreements, and the number of US firms and foreign countries involved. We break down the 26th annual report to Congress on the impact of offsets in the defence trade.

Australia: Offset demands may have “perverse effect” on productivity

Australia’s attempts to promote local industry are hindering military preparedness and undermining industrial productivity, says Rob Bourke, a former economic advisor to the Department of Defence. Domestic builds can be “can be an extraordinarily expensive way to create far fewer jobs than initial impressions.” Bourke’s 12-page report for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute draws on government data and historical trends to compare the costs and benefits of offset obligations.

Polish-British frigates to include technology transfer

Poland’s military modernisation is moving ahead at pace. The country has signed two offset contracts with Babcock linked to the procurement of three multi-role frigates under the Miecznik (Swordfish) requirement.

Thailand to receive Israeli rocket launcher technology

The Thai Defence Technology Institute (DTI) and the Royal Thai Navy’s Naval Research and Development Office (NRDO) are partnering with Israel’s Elbit Systems to develop a localised version of Elbit’s multi-calibre PULS rocket launcher.

Offsets cause mixed feelings among Korean analysts

A report published by the Korean daily Financial News comes to two conflicting conclusions about the costs and benefits of offset policies. The commentary was published on 5 August and features insights from academia, industry, and government-affiliated trade centres.

Bell offers Korea technology transfer despite communication mishap

Bell Textron has submitted a formal offer to the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for the domestic production of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. This is reportedly Bell’s third attempt at offering technology after DAPA ignored two proposals sent via email last year, apparently because the messages were not formally addressed to the right individuals.