AIRSHOW-Arms makers embrace partnerships in pursuit of foreign sales
* Foreign sales needed amid U.S., European budget cuts
* Weapons makers look to partnerships, technology sharing
* Multinational F-35 seen as model for others to follow
By Andrea Shalal
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 17 (Reuters) - Traditionally companies which have guarded their secrets closely, arms makers are opening up to partnerships and technology sharing to meet the demands of overseas buyers they need to offset budget cuts at home.
In years gone by, foreign arms deals were dominated by so-called offset agreements - where the seller would make investments in the buyer's local economy, sometimes in unrelated sectors such as the automotive industry.
That is now giving way to genuine partnerships, and business deals and cooperation agreements with defense and technology companies in other countries, industry executives told Reuters at the Farnborough Airshow in southern England this week.
Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's biggest arms supplier, believes the weapons industry is following the lead of cash-strapped governments - which are also increasingly looking at cooperative defense deals rather than unilateral projects.
"Almost every country realizes the need to collaborate on their security needs because of limited budgets," said Lockheed Martin senior vice president of business development Paul Lemmo. "I think industry gets that, and there's a lot more discussion around collaboration between industries on different projects." Continuación...