Defense tech entrepreneurs call to „bet on youth”

Defense tech entrepreneurs call to „bet on youth”Mickey Lopez

The second of the III Business Investment Forum roundtables focused on the defense technology sector and the opportunities and future they offer. Although references to Asturias were few, everyone agreed that the region was well located. For example: Drupia Factory. Borja Ochoa, General Director of Indra; Alberto Badaya, Vice President of Equipment and Procurement Systems at Airbus; Fernando Fernández, Director of Escribano Operations, and Angel Llavero, CEO of Meltio, exchanged views in a talk moderated by Luis Angel Colunga, PERTE’s Special Commissioner on Industrial Decarbonization. All agreed that defense material companies can not only contribute to their field but can be a lever for other activities. Currently, in a European panorama marked by the war in Ukraine, the sector takes on special relevance.

„We don’t have good legislation, and historically it’s been difficult for us. Now the alliances and defenses that our country needs are very important. One of our biggest challenges is to grow, because we’re small and we’re in a super-technological world,” he said. „Before, we Spaniards were losers, now we’re not,” said Fernández of security technology company Operaciones Escribano, who called for „betting on youth” and gave the soccer example. In addition, he highlights the possibilities in the defense world: „They ordered us to stop production at zero during Covid, and we made respirators.”

Angel Lavero, CEO of Melteo, a company dedicated to the development of metal 3D printing systems, left many reflections to take into account. „I am Thumbelina: we are invisible to adults, but we have many opportunities. In my relationship with the defense industry, I learned that this industry cares about being better than the enemy. You can innovate,” said Lavero, speaking. Clearly and directly received loud applause. „We will succeed if we look for positive things. Twenty years ago we all decided to mortgage and that was the case. Now if we focus on industrial development, we will be better, the only thing missing. The big pillar, this is the country’s plan,” he highlighted. , called for „more efficient, sustainable and results-oriented, collaboration with each other as technology is at the crossroads.”

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Borja Ochoa, general director of Indra, one of Spain’s most powerful engineering firms, gave a historical overview. „Due to the continuous economic crises, the most affected are defense products and this has led to being in a disadvantageous situation: we do not invest in technology, now we do in a short period of time, because the panorama has changed. To a state of environmental complexity and uncertainty,” he pointed out, regarding the increase in investments in weapons. “We need to identify the products we want to bet on and prioritize capabilities to be more competitive,” he highlighted.

Alberto Badaya, from Aviles, vice president of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, highlighted the importance of „understanding the role of European industry”. He also gave some statistics. „We produce 1,000 planes a year. Germany has given 100,000 million euros (for defense) and Spain more than 20,000 million. Now we have to find that scale and innovate. Because there are many technologies that we are missing, but we don’t. Keep them,” he stressed. Padaya said the focus on investment is key and „supporting end-customer growth” is critical.

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