Belgium’s defense modernization soars as budget tops $8.6bn by 2028

Belgium is on a defense upgrade, focusing on its Army, Navy and Air Force, with the country’s defense budget expected to exceed $8.6 billion (8.14 billion euros) by 2028, according to the GlobalData’s Belgium Defense Market 2023–2028 report.

Belgium is committed to modernisation, the achievement of NATO objectives and the creation of strategic alliances, all within the economic and social framework that underpins its defense strategy.

Belgium’s commitment to modernize its defense capabilities

Belgium, a nation known for its strategic importance in Western Europe, is undergoing a transformational phase in its defense capabilities, fueled by increased military spending. The country’s defense budget increased from $4.8 billion in 2019 to $7.1 billion in 2023.

GlobalData’s Belgium Defense Market 2023–2028 The report emphasizes that this change can be attributed to the commitment to modernization and the pressure to achieve NATO’s goals.

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From GlobalData

The Belgian government has allocated an additional $10.8 billion by 2030, a move aimed at boosting acquisition capacity while meeting existing spending obligations.

The Army, in particular, will benefit from this increased funding, making it easier to modernize and acquire new equipment, including armored vehicles and artillery.

While the historical period saw a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% in defense spending, the forecast period projects a slower growth rate of 4.3%. Despite this slowdown, Belgium’s defense budget is set to exceed $8.6 billion by 2028.

Modernization plans for the Army, Navy and Air Force

Several key factors underpin Belgium’s defense strategy. Modernization is at the core, with the Belgian Government’s Strategic Defense Plan, adopted in 2015, underlining the need to increase defense spending to achieve a budget comprising 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

This increased funding is available to modernize various military branches, including the Army’s armored vehicles, artillery, transport helicopters, The new frigates of the Navy and mine countermeasure shipsand The acquisition of F-35A fighters by the Air Force.

NATO’s objectives and missions play a role in Belgium’s defense commitment. In response to the conflict in UkraineBelgium has pledged to boost its defense spending, aligning it more closely with NATO goals.

Belgium’s support for Ukraine is evident in the recent announcement of $98.85 million in military aid. This support package includes the latest generation SCAR assault rifles, MINIMI light machine guns, Iveco LMV Lynx vehicles and Volvo trucks. This marks the largest single military handover to another country, underscoring Belgium’s commitment to international security.

Belgium’s defense budget as a percentage of GDP has historically been among the lowest in Europe. However, with its forecast to reach 1.4% of GDP by 2030, Belgium is gradually approaching NATO targets. Per capita defense spending is rising, reflecting the commitment to increase spending.

The framework shaping Belgium’s defense strategy

Economically, Belgium is a highly developed nation with a strong domestic defense industry. Despite recent challenges, the country plays a vital role in Europe’s economy. However, it is important to note that Belgium faces specific social challenges, especially in the fight against drug trafficking.

The country’s location in central Europe has made it a prime destination for drug traffickers, with its extensive port facilities acting as key hubs for drug distribution.

Belgium’s defense modernization is a multifaceted effort driven by increased spending, international cooperation and a commitment to achieving NATO goals. The nation’s unique position in Europe, its commitment to strategic alliances and its evolving military doctrine make it a key player in the continent’s security landscape.

As Belgium’s defense budget grows, its role in international security will undoubtedly become more important.

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