The immediate aftermath of the war in Ukraine has aroused such a degree of social awareness among European citizens for the protection of their values and living conditions that it has become a breeding ground for important new business projects.
If we add to this the various actions undertaken by Brussels to boost cooperation between the defence and security industries of its 27 member states, and the Spanish Ministry of Defence's weapons systems acquisition programmes, all of this translates into innovative initiatives that, in the medium and long term, have an impact on exports and the creation of stable jobs.
Examples of the progressive strength that the security, cybersecurity and defence ecosystems are acquiring on a national scale are two recent Spanish business initiatives that are set to have continuity and repercussions in the coming years.
One is that undertaken by the company Escribano Mechanical & Engineering, which has equipped itself with a huge testing ground where, in a real and multi-purpose scenario, it can assess the degree of development of its latest technological innovations and show its wide range of defence and security products to potential customers.
Another is the High Security and Intelligence Technologies Fair-Congress (TecnoSec), an initiative that has carved out a niche for itself in the national exhibition calendar and at which around one hundred SMEs and large companies, including Airbus Secure Land Communications, BAE Systems, Accenture, TRC Group, Indra, Microsoft, Rohde & Schwarz, Sicpa, Tecnobit, Telefónica and Thales, have been able to exhibit their main products and services dedicated to police security, intelligence and critical infrastructure protection.
In an exhibition and B2B business format full of presentations and round tables, senior officials from the Ministry of the Interior, the CNI's National Cryptologic Centre, together with commanders from the National Police, the Civil Guard and company executives explained on 11 and 12 May the new features offered by the market for monitoring and detecting digital content that criminal and terrorist organisations disseminate through social networks and the Internet.
The protection and interoperability of networks and information systems to achieve a cybersecure ecosystem was reviewed. The new applications provided by Artificial Intelligence to verify the identity of natural persons were also presented. TecnoSec was attended by the Deputy Director General of Information and Communications Systems for Security of the Ministry of the Interior, Enrique Belda, for whom promoting national technology "is critical for security".
In parallel to TecnoSec, the APTIE association chaired by Alfonso López Clavier organised the Professional Fair-Congress of Platforms and Applications for Unmanned Systems (DronExpo). It was attended by nearly 40 entities, including Aeronáutica SDLE, Alter Technology, CATEC, FADA and the Galician Aeronautical Consortium (CAG), which includes 24 companies. The various round tables discussed legal issues and insurance policies required for the use of drones, lines of financing, police uses and anti-drone technologies.
The case of Escribano E&M is very different. It is a "very competitive" Spanish manufacturer, in the words of its top managers, the brothers Ángel and Javier Escribano, which between 2019 and 2021 has doubled its turnover to 75 million euros, as has its workforce, now around half a thousand employees. The company is firmly committed to combining its strengths in R&D&I with its high engineering and production capacities which, step by step, it has been building up. This means that "we can guarantee on time and on price deliveries to our customers all over the world".
With its headquarters and factories concentrated in the Alcalá de Henares Science and Technology Park, near the Spanish capital, Escribano E&M has set up a large Test Centre that it has named "Escribano Viso Valley". Located some 40 kilometres from the centre of Madrid, it is a sort of administrative concession of disused army facilities that it has turned into a showcase for its technologies.
The test range covers an area of about 800,000 square metres, is located on high ground and has a rugged terrain. Test tracks and test circuits have been built on this large site to dynamically test weapon systems and optronic day and night vision equipment aboard tracked and wheeled tactical vehicles. New buildings have also been erected and existing buildings have been refurbished to provide training and training departments in the future.
A veteran company that has evolved from a Tier 3 subcontractor into a first-class industrial company, from the manufacture of machined parts to the production of electronic equipment and the design and integration of its extensive family of remote-controlled weapon turrets. Under the generic name of Guardian, they are mounted on all types of combat vehicles and ships, and are fitted with weapons ranging from 5.56 to 30 millimetres calibre, which are fired by an operator in complete safety.
This is complemented by the production of kits for the guidance of rockets and large-calibre projectiles, which extend range and improve accuracy, artificial intelligence simulation equipment, virtual reality and Themis autonomous reconnaissance vehicles. Its catalogue offers cameras in the visible and infrared spectrums for surveillance and threat identification, such as Oteos, which is part of the Integrated External Surveillance System (SIVE) for border control.
Its business strategy is based on "investing and innovating", with a view to offering the Spanish Armed Forces products and solutions equipped with advanced technologies with the "made in Spain" seal of sovereignty. Its products are in service with the Army, the Navy, as well as the Guardia Civil and the National Police.
The company is very active in the foreign market. "We dedicate 90% of our production to exports", emphasises Ángel Escribano, whose main clients are "in North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America". This is why Escribano E&M is one of the Spanish companies with the strongest presence at international defence trade fairs.
In March this year it exhibited at DSA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and at the World Defender Show (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), in June it will be at HEMUS (Bulgaria) and Eurosatory (Paris, France) and will also attend Indo Defense (Jakarta, Indonesia). Despite pandemic restrictions, in 2021 it showed its extensive catalogue at the EDEX armament fair (Cairo, Egypt) and also attended IDEX, in Abu Dhabi (Emirates).