MPs call on Government to stamp out Chinese and Russian involvement in defence industry
MPs have called on the Government to stamp out Chinese and Russian involvement in the defence industry.
A defence committee study into foreign connections in the supply chain argued that the Ministry of Defence had permitted takeovers and equipment deals which put national security at risk.
MPs want to stop the MoD purchasing second-hand Chinese equipment after it emerged that Britain had bought two 737 airliners from China to convert into spy planes.
Intervention: MPs want to stop the MoD purchasing second-hand Chinese equipment after it emerged that Britain had bought two 737 airliners from China
They demanded the Government lists the countries it considers ‘friendly’ investors and bar nations which fall outside this definition.
The study concluded that the MoD should ‘urgently assess the implications of Chinese ownership’ of several firms, including component manufacturer Gardner Aerospace, radios supplier Sepura Group and circuit board maker eXception PCB.
Tory MP Richard Drax told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Cyber warfare is the new frontier and the risk of theft of intellectual property about weapons and systems is very serious. The MoD has been slightly naive in the past and must take a much more hard-nosed approach to not allowing Russia or China into our defence supply chain.’
It is hoped the National Security and Investment Bill, under consideration in the House of Lords, will help Westminster scrutinise foreign investment more closely.
The report also warned that the Covid crisis was making smaller defence suppliers ‘financially vulnerable’ and at risk of seeking foreign funds.