Finmeccanica Says NATO Contract Is Gateway for More Cyber Work

Finmeccanica SpA’s contract from NATO to develop security for computer networks linking members may be a gateway to more than 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in cyber security contracts, according to a company executive.

Finmeccanica yesterday became the first non-U.S. company to be named prime contractor on a NATO cybersecurity contract, with the Italian company getting a 50 million-euro contract to detect and respond to cyber security threats to the 28 member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Northrop Grumman Corp. is Finmeccanica’s senior partner on the contract.

The state-controlled company, Italy’s largest weapons maker, expects a flurry of contracts within five years from NATO nations, and Finmeccanica expects to win between 10 percent to 20 percent of those, said Paul MacGregor, Finmeccanica Cyber Solutions director, in an interview late yesterday from London.

“We’ve all been talking about cyber for the last two years, and defense companies are all looking to this emerging market, but not a lot has happened,” said MacGregor. “This is the tipping point.”

MacGregor said that the U.K. alone has invested about 650 million pounds ($1 billion) in developing cyber security. Extrapolating from that, he said, assuming all 28 nations in NATO invest 100 million euros each over the next three to five years, the figure invested would be well over 2 billion euros.

The U.S. is ahead of all other countries in investing in cyber security though he predicted NATO’s move to start building protection systems will encourage other countries to begin investing, he said.

The current contract will see Finmeccanica and Northrop Grumman develop systems and defend and protect the information infrastructure linking those nations.

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