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Struggling US Defense Tech Startups Find Closed Doors in Europe, Pivot Attention to Brewing Geopolitical Conflict in Asia

Photos from Google

US defense technology startups, notably Palantir Technologies Inc. and Anduril Industries Inc., face formidable challenges in accessing Europe’s defense market despite increased military budgets post-Russia’s Ukraine invasion. As European nations predominantly favor local providers, American firms have encountered barriers, pushing them to redirect their focus towards potential conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region, notably the South China Sea.

Photos from Google

Challenges in Europe’s Defense Market:

Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, criticized European governments for favoring local providers over US defense firms in contracts, citing the continent’s preference for local tech and restrictions on products like Gotham, Palantir’s policing software, due to privacy concerns.

Despite Palantir and Anduril’s leading-edge technologies in drones, sensors, and weaponry, they’ve struggled in Europe due to smaller defense budgets, varied security priorities, and concerns about sovereignty, hindering their expected success on the continent.

Efforts by these defense tech companies in Ukraine during the conflict haven’t translated into substantial contracts or revenue elsewhere in Europe beyond initial engagements, leading to frustration among officials and a perception of using the country merely as a “marketing opportunity.”

READ ALSO: In Russia’s Kaliningrad, isolation and diminished threat to NATO. 

Pivoting toward Asia:

With Europe’s market proving challenging, US defense tech startups are redirecting their focus towards potential geopolitical conflicts in Asia, particularly the South China Sea, amid concerns about European market limitations and a stronger emphasis on sovereignty.

Executives from Palantir and Anduril express intentions to aid allied partners in Asia amid growing concerns about cybersecurity threats from China, signifying a strategic shift in their attention towards potential conflicts in the region.

Anduril’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrated by hiring in Sydney and considerations for aiding Taiwan, echoes an urgency to avoid repeating past failures, as seen in Ukraine, highlighting the evolving strategic priorities of US defense tech companies.

READ ALSO: New US ballistic missile may cost so much that project risks being terminated.

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