Market Intelligence
Aerospace and Defense Ireland

Ireland Defense Increase in Investment

In February 2022, a government-commissioned in-depth review of the Irish Defence Forces was published by the Commission on the Defence Forces. The review focused on the capabilities, structures and staffing of the 9,500-person Irish Defence Forces comprising Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. It examined the future of the Defence Forces from short-term immediate requirements to a longer-term vision for beyond 2030.

In their report containing 69 primary recommendations, the Commission identified an urgent need for clarification of the level of ambition for the Irish Defence Forces. It created a framework around three tiers of level of ambition (LOA) related to the capability requirements for a 21st century Defence Forces. The framework ranged from keeping defense spending static at about €1.1 billion a year (LOA-1), raising it by about 50 per cent (LOA-2) or tripling it to €3 billion to bring Irish investment in line with that of other small European countries (LOA-3).

In its July 2022 High Level Action Plan, the Government approved the move to Level of Ambition 2 (LOA-2) over a six year period to 2028. This will see Ireland’s defense budget rising to €1.5 billion by 2028 to facilitate investment in recruitment and equipment identified by the Commission. Recruiting an additional 2,000 personnel is an immediate priority which will generate procurement opportunities for the supply of military uniforms and equipment. Other imminent initiatives include planning for military radar capabilities, including primary radar; accelerating naval service plans to achieve a nine-ship navy by the early 2030s; new armored personnel carriers, helicopters and a long-range aircraft. Strengthening the cyber defense capabilities of the Defence Forces is also a priority.

Reaching LOA-2 by 2028 would give future governments the option of increasing funding further to LOA-3, which would include the purchase of additional military equipment. The action plan has been broadly welcomed by the Irish defense community. It provides U.S. defense technology suppliers with potential procurement opportunities over the next five years.

For more information on defense sector opportunities in Ireland, please contact Padraig O’Connor at U.S. Commercial Service Ireland via Padraig.O’