The independent resource on global security

7. Military research and development




Global military research and development (R&D)
expenditure continues to decline. Total expenditure is now about
$49 billion, of which $43 billion is accounted for by NATO. Most
is going to combat aircraft and missile defences. A notable development
in 1996 was the continuity in policy among the most important
countries despite several elections and defencereviews. Japan
and South Korea continue to increase their military R&Dactivities
steadily. Their build-ups are explicable only if the development of
an independent arms industry is desirable as an end in itself.
In contrast, Taiwan is scaling down its military R&D activities
now that arms exporters are willing to supply it overtly. The
Indian Defence Ministry continues to plan for a major increase
that would double its investment in military technology in 5 years,
but for the third year the government has not been willing to
allocate the planned funds.

Among the 5 declared nuclear weapon states,
the USA and the UK are shifting strongly towards research on conventional
weapons, China and Russia are retaining a nuclear emphasis without
neglecting conventional systems entirely, and France occupies
a position somewhere between.