On the pages of this website we go out of our way at OTM to stress our policy on using ITAR-free components throughout all our actuation solutions. What exactly does this mean, why is this important and what benefits does it impart to our customers?
The International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) was originally enacted by the United States in 1976 as a security initiative during the Cold War. The manufacture, sale or distribution of all items defined on the United States Munitions List (USML) are regulated by the ITAR. Chiefly it covers defence-related items and services. Effectively ITAR decrees that access to physical materials or technical data related to defence and military technologies is restricted to US citizens only unless otherwise in receipt of authorisation from the Department of State.
To all intents and purposes ITAR gives the US authorities the means to control the export and location of any of its regulated products. ITAR regulations specify the reporting obligations for contractors and contain strict restrictions on the import, export and end-usage of products and data covered by it.
It’s clear then that, being involved in supplying the defence industry, this potentially affects OTM and our customers first-hand. The reason it is important is that every company in the supply chain needs to be ITAR compliant. As an example, if OTM sells an actuator containing ITAR restricted components to a customer and they subsequently sell the resultant application to a non-US foreign power, OTM would also be in violation of ITAR.
The bottom line is that if OTM is using ITAR regulated components in our actuator production, we could potentially be leaving both ourselves and our customers with a rather tricky legacy down the line. This underlines why we provide an undertaking that all our components are ITAR-free.
Once upon a time there used to be no issue for any company supplying, for example, the MoD. ITAR restrictions were readily accepted in defence projects but, in recent times, hold-ups caused by waiting for approval from the US have increasingly led to a trend for more ITAR-free solutions.
In international defence trade circles it has been known to cause controversy. European organisations have been accused of leveraging ITAR restrictions to favour European suppliers over those with US involvement. It is true, a fairly widespread effort to avoid products subject to ITAR regulation has emerged across Europe if adequate substitutes are available. Like we do at OTM, organisations are happy to advertise them as being free of ITAR regulation.
The overriding objective for OTM in operating ITAR-free is all about making life as simple as possible when designing and building actuation solutions for our customers. We strive to give our customers the easiest possible means of trading across borders when they choose our solutions for their defence-related project.