dinsdag 14 februari 2017

Dutch exports of dual-use satellites in 2016

More and more small satellites are launched into space. A tenth of them has a clear military function. The Dutch Association for the Aerospace (NVR) in 2011 published a magazine dedicated to small satellites and the Dutch activities in this area. The Netherlands is not an insignificant party in this market.



Those small satellites can be used for many purposes. The KVR notes:

"Global forces can not do without satellites for a variety of purposes such as communication, navigation, surveillance and intelligence. Command, guidance of weapons, weather forecasts and similar issues are dependent on information obtained through satellites. Military satellites increase the effectiveness of existing defence systems. Small satellites are becoming increasingly important because of many advantages such as the possibility of rapid development of new satellites for specific purposes."

Satellites have become indispensable for military deployment.

The Dutch government is one of the most transparent in Europe when it comes to providing information on the export and transit of strategic goods. Strategic goods are military and dual-use (civil and military, DU) goods.

Recently, the new DU-list was published. In a table, of about 7,000 lines, exports for the period 2004-2016 are given. Striking is the large number of satellite exports in 2016. Until 2016 are just a few permits issued for (weather) satellites and components (including optical technology and undefined components). The destinations were China, India and South Korea.

Formal ISILaunch17 mission logo of February 2017
The significant increase in 2016 is mainly due to the export of nano satellites. These are sometimes not be greater than a milk carton to the size of a refrigerator and are brought into the room with a rocket. The Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) in Amsterdam is in charge of Dutch investigation into the application, but the Technical University Delft, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and smaller – but not insignificant - companies such as ISIS and Cosine are also involved in that development.

The market for satellites is divided into several segments, such as communications, surveillance, observation, scientific research, biological experiments, testing and demonstration of technology, science and navigation. Based on end-user, the following parties are distinguished: government, society, industry, defence, energy, marine and transportation industries.

The bulk of the Dutch satellite exports in 2016 relates to nano satellites for observation. Both military and science and industry benefit from this. Observation may be intended to improve the growing of crops, but also to identify opponents, possibly in preparation for an attack or a targeted elimination of people. The military or repressive applications are the controversial when discussing the export of strategic products.

The reputation of the countries (China, Russia, India, Israel, UAE) who purchase the Dutch satellites is not reassuring. It is known, for example from military considerations that Israel has invested heavily in observation satellites. The satellites of the extremely repressive Singapore among others intended for internal security and "for military purposes; to know what countries in the region are doing on land, air and sea." The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are involved in the dirty war against the current regime in Yemen. That earth observation could play a role in this war is indisputable.
The market for small satellites is growing rapidly and not all satellites have a military application. Most get a civil destination, others a dual function for both civilian and military applications.

Unfortunately, it is unclear for what purpose the Dutch exports are ment, because descriptions like 'Earth observation' and especially 'Testing new technologies' (China) and 'Rresearch in space' (US) are extremely vague. In this way, transparency is not very informative. The type name of the satellites should be mentioned to give society a possibility to assess on these growing exports, also for military purposes.

Dutch dual-use satellite exports in 2016
Submission date
Description
Application
Final
Temporarily
Destination
Amount
19/05/16
Nano Satellite
Testing new technologies
D
China
300,000
26/09/16
Nano Satellite
Earth observation
T
Russia
2,129,925
17/11/16
Nano Satellite
Earth observation
T
Russia
2,690,582
02/12/16
Nano Satellite
Research in Space
D
US
2,548,942
14/12/16
Satellite
Earth observation
D
Singapore
900,000
14/12/16
Nano Satellite
Earth observation
T
US
47,160
22/12/16
Nano Satellite
Earth observation
D
UAE via India
100,000
22/12/16
Nano Satellite
Earth observation
D
Israel via India
2,200,000
23/12/16
Nano Satellites
Earth observation
D
India
7,832,861
Source: Montly reports on exports of dual use products 2004-2016, Dutch Government, January 31, 2017.

Blog geschreven voor Stop Wapenhandel

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Ha Martin,
    Interessant overzicht; deze al gezien?
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/india-puts-record-104-satellites-orbit-170215045330358.html
    groeten Frank

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