On the fringe of NATO’s summit, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput signed with other countries two joint purchasing agreements for ammunition intended for the Belgian Army’s land and naval units, he stipulated Thursday. Belgium took the lead in the purchasing project for land ammunition (“Land Battle Decisive Munitions’’ or LBDM), which aims at jointly buying and managing such ammunition, in virtue of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by defense ministers of sixteen allied countries, plus Macedonia — destined to become the 30thth Atlantic Alliance member. Austria and Finland should sign the MoU after the summit, informed NATO in a communication.
“We will jointly buy, manage and stock the ammunition,’’ explained Mr. Vandeput, speaking of a better management of strategic and exercise ammunition stocks, whereas the current situation is that ammunition must be destroyed if it has not been used before the expiry date.
“We have taken the initiative, brought the people together and written the text out,’’ added the minister.
A Letter of Intent (LoI) had been signed last year and became a Memorandum of Understanding for large-caliber ammunition.
Concerning naval ammunition, seven allied countries (Belgium, Portugal, Italy, France, Netherlands, Spain and Poland) signed an LoI for the joint purchase of a large range of “Maritime Battle Decisive Munitions’’ (MBDM), such as sea-to-air and sea-to-sea missiles, torpedoes and artillery shells. It is also in view of making substantial economies, underlined NATO, evoking the possibility of common warehouses.
According to Mr. Vandeput, this type of cooperation is also an invitation to use the same ammunition, and therefore favor the interoperability between allied forces.