Networking event shows possibilities of expanding the limits of the defense industryBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
May 20. 2018 10:29PM
BEDFORD — Trends and tensions are shaping the future of the global defense export industry, according to a defense industry expert.
“There are a lot of transitions going on in the defense aerospace market,” Tate Nurkin, founder of OTH Intelligence Group LLC, told a group of trade representatives last week in New Hampshire.
While the United States is dominating the field in terms of the highest amount of money spent on its global defense budget, China takes second and India just surpassed the United Kingdom for third place in spending for 2017, Nurkin said.
There have been four consecutive years of growth for defense budgets, according to Nurkin, who said that investment creates a positive message for companies in the defense, aerospace and innovation fields.
That’s good news for members of the New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium, which held its annual networking event Thursday at the Manchester Country Club.
“There is certainly a lot of money out there,” Nurkin said, adding he expects global defense spending to pass its $1.63 trillion peak from 2010 and reach about $1.7 trillion this year — a 3.5 percent increase.
He said China is starting to make some impressive gains in the area as a global defense exporter, adding a joint development area was recently established in Saudi Arabia that serves as a regional hub.
“The innovation environment is complicated,” Nurkin said.
Military and defense industries are not the only place where innovation is happening, he said, explaining commercial high tech is also gaining ground.
From a military perspective, he said there are now more competitors with different business models applying technology in different ways to produce stronger, faster and lighter products.
“The industry is actually changing the parameters,” Nurkin said, highlighting the use of unmanned systems, quantum encryption, and virtual and augmented reality manufacturing.
Although global defense spending dropped earlier this decade, the global export market has actually picked up, Nurkin said.
Leanne Spees, senior vice-president of international finance with The Provident Bank, told participants that now is the time to be innovative and disruptive, and to insist that their banks work for them.
“Your bank should be helping you to make more international sales and help you export more efficiently,” she told the crowd filled with active exporters in the defense industry.
Banks should be helping companies market internationally, beat the competition and get paid, according to Spees.
She stressed the importance of export credit insurance as a useful tool, explaining banks can also lend directly to buyers overseas.
“We would like to help our members do business and increase their sales,” agreed Zenagui Brahim, chairman of the NHADEC, which now has nearly 100 members across New Hampshire and throughout the country.
During the annual networking event, Brahim said the organization plans to expand its growth regionally while also changing its operational focus from promotional to a sales-oriented consortium.