Despite considerable restructuring since the end of the Cold War, the European armoured vehicle industry remains largely fragmented along national lines. As stagnating domestic budgets, rising R&D and production costs and the limits of export-focused industrial strategies provide an economic imperative for further consolidation, the merger of Nexter and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in 2015 has often been regarded as a mere starting point for a wider trans-European reorganisation process which could even result in a land-based equivalent to Airbus. This article proposes a new classification system to identify the ‘prime competitors’ of the European armoured vehicle industry and debates prospects for further consolidation among them. By means of a volume-based variant of the HHI, concentration in European procurement of armoured vehicles is estimated and various merger simulations are conducted. The results suggest that, while the European armoured vehicle industry will likely experience further consolidation, this process will probably be too small in scope to create an ‘Airbus of the land systems sector’. In the medium to long term, however, market pressures and collaborative programmes such as the Main Ground Combat System might have the potential to create a ‘European champion’ in selected subsectors of the armoured vehicle industry.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDefence and Peace Economics
Early online date2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

    Research areas

  • defence industry

ID: 51210096