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US Navy shipyards harness laser technology for ship assessments, training

Jane's Defense News - Tue, 16/07/2019 - 04:00
The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) are looking to laser scan US Navy (USN) ships to better assess the vessels and conduct related work on them. Previously, yard workers and supervisors would have to rely on hand drawings for ship checks, but navy engineers say
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US SecDef nominee calls for AI focus, re-examining weapon development priorities

Jane's Defense News - Tue, 16/07/2019 - 04:00
A slew of Pentagon programme cuts could be on the horizon across the services if US Army Secretary Mark Esper takes the department’s helm. During his 16 July Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing to become the next Secretary of Defence, Esper said he is committed to the National
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Multinational MRTT Unit established

Jane's Defense News - Tue, 16/07/2019 - 03:00
The Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Unit (MMU) has been established, the Luftwaffe announced on its website on 10 July. Multinational MRTT Force (MMF) programme executive board chair, Royal Netherlands Navy Commodore Dick Kreiter, handed over command of the MMU to its first
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Cyber defence organisations met at EDA

EDA News - Mon, 08/07/2019 - 17:03

Senior officials of the four organisations signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, Bodies and Agencies (CERT-EU) met today at the EDA premises.

The purpose of the meeting was to update each other on relevant developments and to assess the progress made so far in the implementation of the MoU. The Memorandum, signed in May 2018, provides a framework for cooperation through which the four organisations can leverage synergies  in order to achieve a safe and open cyberspace and to promote civil & military synergies. 

Significant progress has been achieved since the MoU entered into effect in June 2018, notably a continuous exchange of views on top cybersecurity aspects (including policy, technical, operational items), reciprocal participation to events and a better understanding by respective staff of how the four organisations can work together..

The collaboration roadmap prepared by the MoU working group, which contains concrete activities and deliverables scheduled throughout 2019, has been reflected in the signatories' respective work programmes, ensuring improved coherence. The main focus of the roadmap is on training and cyber exercises, building on the cooperation capacity and the improved exchange of information on respective projects and events. The aim is to complement the respective work of the four partners and avoid duplication of efforts, also taking into account broader EU initiatives in the cyber domain. 
As part of the cooperation, the four partners are planning to organise another major event in the second part of 2020. They also want to pay additional attention to improving incident response mechanisms and processes as well as increased joint participations at high visibility events in the Cybersecurity and Cyber Defence area.

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Chernobyl, Behind the Scenes - Mon, 08/07/2019 - 01:55

Chernobyl, Behind the Scenes
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New ‘Round Robin Test’ launched to enhance ammunition safety standards

EDA News - Fri, 05/07/2019 - 08:59

Picture: vibration test on a munitions lot

Last June, EDA’s 2019 ‘Round Robin Test’ was launched with the participation of nine laboratories from seven EDA Member States (Poland, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Cyprus) as well as from Norway (which has signed an Administrative Agreement with the Agency). The initiative is designed to compare test results obtained in different Member States laboratories working on ammunition safety.

These multinational tests, organised on a yearly basis under the auspices of EDA, are a central tool established by the European Network of National Safety authorities on Ammunition (ENNSA) whose objective is to enhance cooperation and interoperability between national authorities in charge of ammunition safety. 

In a Round Robin Test (RTT), the results of different laboratories are all considered to be at the same level of quality: the intent is thus not to verify the accuracy of the results obtained from each and every laboratory by comparing them with the reference exact result, but rather to verify the dispersion of the data and the possibility of using a certain standard to obtain reliable results (within a certain range of errors considered tolerable), under different conditions. Therefore, what is evaluated in an RRT is the standard itself, not the performance of the laboratories. A successful RRT provides the assurance that the standard used is suitable to generate ‘reproducible’ results. A failed test, on the other hand, can help to highlight the need to amend and/or supplement the standard.
Focus on Energetic Materials

This year’s RRT is focused on the characterization of Energetic Materials, which are key components of any kind of ammunition, and more specifically on propellants (single-base nitrocellulose) and high explosives (HMX). All nine participating laboratories will soon receive samples from the same explosive batch and will be required to perform identical tests, all referring to explosive sensitivity and thermal stability, in particular: impact sensitivity, friction sensitivity, Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA),

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Heat Flow Calorimetry (HFC), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). The test is led by one of the most experienced European laboratories in this field, the Polish Laboratory of Combat Assets Testing of the Military Institute of Armament Technology (MIAT), located in Zielonka, near Warsaw. Coordinator of this test is Agata Kamieńska-Duda, Head of MIAT’S Ammunition Test Laboratory.

Room for improvement

Bogdan Krysiński, the current chairman of ENNSA, is responsible in MIAT for testing ammunition after long-term storage. He insists on the substantial added value provided by the annual Round Robin Tests initiative but also believes it could be further improved.  “The RRT initiative is very valuable in many aspects. First of all, it allows everybody to compare research capabilities among the institutes and exchange experience among the researchers. However, it would be wrong to claim this is enough. Science never stops. Better methods of ammunition performance should be continuously sought for in order to provide a more precise assessment of its safety and operational reliability”, he commented. 

“For many types of ammunition and their components it will be probably necessary to introduce a broader scope of testing than that used within the current RRT. Another issue is the need to develop unambiguous templates of documents for the preparation of the tests, as well as for the recording and reporting of the test results. Recent experiences confirm the importance of this. Continuous improvement of the Round Robin Test programme is thus something we should keep in mind for the benefit of all”, he stated.


In 2010 the EDA Steering Board approved the establishment of the European Network of National Safety authorities on Ammunition (ENNSA) with the primary task to facilitate communication among the national bodies which are in charge of ammunition safety. The focus of ENNSA, as agreed by its members, was to explore the harmonisation of ammunition qualification to improve interoperability and increase cooperation among Member States, in parallel with achieving savings across the ammunition production/procurement cycle. One of the basic tools designed for this purpose is the Round Robin Test (RRT) programme.  It serves to compare and validate test results obtained in different laboratories of the Member States working within the area of ammunition safety.


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Highlights - The European Parliamentary committees: their role and composition - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Parliament's committees deal with EU legislative proposals by adopting reports, which then are referred to plenary for voting by all Members, and appoint negotiation teams to conduct talks with Council. They adopt non-legislative reports, organise hearings with experts and scrutinise other EU bodies and institutions. Parliament can set up sub-committees and special committees to deal with specific issues. Each committee elects a chair and up to four vice-chairs for a two and a half year mandate.

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Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP

Latest news - Next SEDE meeting - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

On 10 July 2019 the SEDE Committee elects its Chair and Vice-Chairs.
Further details will be communicated in due course.

You are welcome to follow us on the EP Multimedia Centre.

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EP Mulitmedia Centre
Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP

ESMAB meeting focussed on civil & military collaboration in Single European Sky

EDA News - Tue, 02/07/2019 - 18:36

The EDA SES Military Aviation Board (ESMAB) today held its 7th meeting at policy level. The meeting, which took place at the EUROCONTROL premises, was chaired by EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq.

The meeting was attended by the European Commission’s Director General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee (EUMC), General Claudio Graziano, the Director General of Eurocontrol, Eamonn Brennon, the Commission Director for Aviation, Filip Cornelis, as well as representatives from a wide range of key aviation stakeholders, notably the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM), NATO, the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE), the Performance Review Body (PRB) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Also present were representatives from the four countries EDA has concluded Administrative Agreements with (Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Ukraine). The ESMAB policy level is comprising Member States’ military aviation authorities or equivalent.

The meeting allowed participants to have an informal high-level exchange of views between the main civil and military actors involved in this domain, with a particular focus on the challenges and opportunities for civil and military collaboration in on Single European Sky. 

One of the operational conclusions of the meeting was that the ESMAB agreed to support the document “U-Space, Drones and Military Low-Level Flights” including its annex “Operations for traffic below 500ft AGL: a Military view” and to use this document at national and EU level, as a basis to increase awareness of and support for the interests of military aviation in the framework of U-Space developments. This document will be updated as a living document on a regular basis considering other aspects enlarging the scope of the analysis. The Board also welcomed the EDA-EASA guidelines for the accommodation of military instruments flight rules (IFR) for MALE RPAS under GAT (airspace classes A-C) outside segregated airspace and agreed to use the guidelines as a reference for the accommodation of MALE-type RPAS within the European airspace..

Regarding Higher Airspace Operations, the ESMAB agreed to Support the European Defence Agency activities to monitor the work led by EASA as regard the regulatory framework and the work led by SESAR Joint Undertaking and EUROCONTROL as regards the concept of operations for Higher Airspace.

The ESMAB management was also tasked, with the support of EDA, to further investigate the need to establish of a working group involving Member States representatives, as well as representatives of relevant civil and military organisations (NATO, ECTL, EASA, ICAO, etc.) with the objective to together address the cyber security challenges for the air domain, and to revert to the ESMAB (policy level) with a proposal.

The next policy level meeting of the ESMAB is scheduled for end of January 2020.


An EDA SES Military Aviation Board (ESMAB) was created by the European Defence Agency Steering Board on 30 September 2015. Ever since, ESMAB meets at two level : - management/expert level and executive/policy level.

Rules and regulations of the civilian world can have an important impact on the military. Consequently, EDA is now recognised as the interface between Member States, EU institutions and agencies. A prominent example is the impact the Single European Sky and its related regulations have on the military. EDA, in its role of interface and facilitator of the coordination of military views is making the military voices heard in this important modernisation process through its successful cooperation with the European Commission, Eurocontrol, and other key EU bodies and agencies involved in SES. This is also achieved thanks to EDA participating Member States’ commitment to the ESMAB which held its first meeting in May 2016.

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Strategic Context Cases approved for implementation of EU Capability Development Priorities

EDA News - Thu, 27/06/2019 - 16:23

EDA’s Steering Board in Capability Directors composition today endorsed the first edition of the Strategic Context Cases (SCC) which will guide the practical implementation of the 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by EDA Member States in June 2018. The SCC should ensure the priorities are implemented in a way that improves the coherence of the European capability landscape and leads to cooperative projects which contribute to close identified capability shortfalls.

The 11 SCC – one for every priority agreed last year (*) – describe in concrete terms what the current capability situation is, including the activities planned or already ongoing at national and/or multinational level in order to address the shortfalls. The outcomes of the NATO Defence Planning Process and the activities undertaken in the context of the Framework Nations Concept (FNC) are also taken into account in order to ensure coherence of output and avoid unnecessary duplication.

The SCC highlight in particular the major challenges to the coherence of the European capability landscape in each of these areas in the short, medium and long term. “We all know that there are pressing capability challenges across the whole spectrum. For example, there is a growing threat from the use of mini-drones to our military forces”, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq commented. “The SCC will provide concrete and tangible gains across the Member States in addressing this issue in the short, medium and long term”. They also provide guidance to address these challenges by offering ‘avenues of approach’ for potential cooperation between participating Member States that could help achieve the priorities and improve the coherence of the European capability landscape.

The SCC are integrating documents: each of them also reflects the R&T priorities identified in the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) and related R&T activities linked to each capability priority. Cross references of the SCC to the Key Strategic Activities (KSA) which are considered important for the implementation of the priority such as technologies, skills and industrial manufacturing capacities will be added once the KSA reports are approved by the Steering Board.

To prepare the SCC, EDA worked closely with Member States, the EU Military Committee (EUMC), the EU Military Staff (EUMS) and European industry which was consulted to collect their views on technological solutions to close identified capability gaps and face the new security challenges. The Agency also ran staff to staff meetings with NATO to ensure activities developed by participating Member States within NATO are correctly reflected.

The next step in the elaboration of the first edition of the SCC will happen in February 2020 when EDA will present to the Steering Board part two of the SCC containing roadmaps of ongoing capability development activities and possible new ones which, subject to the necessary ad-hoc decisions by Member States, could be taken forward in the Agency framework. The SCC are living documents and will be updated by EDA over time, also on the basis of Member States’ feedback, to make sure they always reflect the latest developments in the implementation of each and every priority.


In June 2018, the EDA Steering Board in Capability Directors formation endorsed the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP) and approved the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities. In their Council conclusions adopted on 25 June 2018, Member States agreed that “these priorities, as a key reference for Member States' and EU's capability development, will inform CARD, PESCO and the European Defence Fund, which bring a step-change in defence cooperation, thus contributing to coherence among these three distinct but mutually reinforcing initiatives”. The June 2018 Steering Board also tasked the Agency to start the preparatory work for the implementation of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities, including with a view to the elaboration of SCC. In November 2018, the Steering Board tasked the Agency to proceed with the development of the SCC and to come up with a first edition by June 2019. Endorsed by the Steering Board, the SCC will now be forwarded to the Council as agreed by the Member States in the Council conclusions of 17 June 2019.

More information: 


(*) The 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by Member States in 2018 relate to the following domains:

  • Ground Combat Capabilities
  • Enhanced Logistic and Medical Supporting Capabilities
  • Naval Manoeuvrability
  • Underwater Control contributing to resilience at Sea
  • Air Superiority
  • Air Mobility
  • Integration of Military Air Capabilities in a changing Aviation Sector
  • Enabling capabilities for cyber responsive operation
  • Space-based information and communication services
  • Information Superiority
  • Cross-Domain Capabilities contributing to achieve EU’s Level of Ambition. 


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SCAF : The New Franco-German Aircraft

CSDP blog - Wed, 26/06/2019 - 15:15

SCAF : Future Combat Air System


Stakeholders and partners gather for EDA’s 15th Anniversary

EDA News - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 15:16

EDA today celebrated its 15th Anniversary with a ceremony in its premises attended by the Head of the Agency, Federica Mogherini, high representatives (Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Secretaries, Chiefs of Defence, Ambassadors) from its 27 Member States and the four associated countries, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, Deputy Secretary-Generals of the EEAS, the Director General of the EU Military Staff, several European Commissioners and Commission Director-Generals, Executive Directors and senior officials of all EU institutions and agencies, NATO senior representatives as well representatives from the European defence industry and the media.  

In her commemoration speech, Federica Mogherini, the Head of the Agency, recalled the tremendous progress made in European defence cooperation over recent years - especially since the publication of the EU Global Strategy in 2016 - and stressed the role played by EDA in this endeavour. “Five years ago, no-one imagined how far we would come. European defence cooperation has expanded like never before. We have created the instruments to make European defence cooperation become the norm. And the Agency has been at the core of all our work and of all the progress that we have achieved together”, she stated. “All this work wasn't just long overdue. It was urgent and necessary. All of our Member States, today, need European cooperation to guarantee the security of our citizens. European defence is first and foremost about the security of European citizens”.

With CARD, PESCO and the European Defence Fund (EDF), the EU has put in place the tools it needs to enhance defence cooperation and make it work for the benefit of a stronger and more efficient, coherent and interoperable European defence. “The European Defence Agency has made essential contributions to crafting these initiatives all along the way, and it is now central in their implementation. The Agency is the secretariat for both the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and on PESCO, together with the European External Action Service and the EU Military Staff. And you are working with Member States so that their defence budgets incorporate our common Capability Development Plan", Ms Mogherini said. "In these years, I have seen this Agency grow and adapt to new tasks and challenges – and let me thank everyone who works here for your professionalism and flexibility. Your role is now more important than ever, and it will be essential to ensure that EDA always has the means to fulfil its new tasks", she added. 

The Head of the Agency concluded by saying: "It was a privilege for me to be Head of the Defence Agency in this extraordinary moment for European defence. It has been an honour to lead the Agency in these five years, and up until its fifteenth birthday. And whatever will happen next, I know that there are some great professionals here, working every day to make our cooperation more effective, our industry stronger, and our continent more secure.So let me thank you for these years together, and happy birthday to everyone at EDA".  

“EDA is and will remain a central institution of European defence”

Previously, in his opening address as the representative of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, Romanian Defence Minister Gabriel-Beniamin Leș commended the Agency “for its substantial contribution and support to European Defence efforts” throughout the past 15 years. EDA is nowadays recognised as a “key player” in advancing the EU’s role in security and defence, he said. The Agency’s Long-Term Review was “natural” and necessary to keep it fit for purpose. The enhancement of the Agency proved relevant, especially when looking at the crucial role EDA plays nowadays as part of the CARD and PESCO secretariats and in the implementation of the EU defence initiatives in general, the Minister stated.  “We encourage the Agency to continue to support the development of a common understanding regarding the new EU defence initiatives, including the possibilities of simplifying the processes and rules, to continue pursuing coherence of these initiatives and to further contribute to the coherence of output and timelines between relevant EU and NATO processes”, Mr Leș stated. Member States, too, have to change and adapt the way they do defence planning, he said. “PESCO, CARD, EDF are not just political initiative, but they need to become national defence planning instruments. We count on EDA support in this regard”. The Minister, who thanked for the “excellent cooperation” during the Romanian EU Presidency, concluded by saying: “EDA is and will remain a central institution of European defence. As an intergovernmental organisation, it will continue to be closely attached to the needs of the Member States, and this is the main feature that we need to preserve. Romania will remain a strong supporter of EDA as it has always been. You can count on us”

Working for more coherent European capability landscape

In his welcome words to the 200 external guests and EDA staff, Chief Executive Jorge Domecq stressed that since its creation in July 2004, the Agency and the 700 colleagues who worked for it over the past 15 years were always (and still are) driven by one central commitment: to help Member States improve their defence capabilities through cooperation, by working together. “Our mission is very clear: to support Member States in the development of their defence capabilities. All our work is geared towards making this mission a reality”, he said. The Agency can be proud of what it has achieved so far in circumstances that were difficult at times, he said. Not only has it established itself as the “main architect of EU defence capability priorities” thanks to the roles it plays in steering the Capability Development Plan process, the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda and the identification of Europe’s Key Strategic Activities, but it is also recognised as Europe’s central hub for multinational capability development and manager of collaborative defence research, as Europe’s common training ground for common enhanced interoperability as well as the military’s voice and interface in other EU policies. Most importantly, EDA is increasingly seen as the guardian of coherence among the new EU defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF). “I am proud of the impact this house makes, in the interest of a more coherent European capability landscape owned and used by our Member States”, Mr Domecq said, calling Member States to make “full use of EDA’s potential”.

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A special edition for a special occasion: the new EDA magazine is out!

EDA News - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 10:33

The latest European Defence Matters magazine (N°17) is now available. This special edition is entirely focused on the European Defence Agency’s 15th Anniversary which is being celebrated this summer. Together with previous and current stakeholders, decision-makers and partners, we look back at how the Agency has evolved over the past 15 years, what it has achieved so far and what its future prospects are.  This special 15th Anniversary edition is already available in PDF and will soon also be accessible via online version.

After a foreword by Federica Mogherini, the Head of the Agency, the magazine reviews the events and developments in 2002/2003 (European Convention, Thessaloniki European Council, etc.) which led to the creation of the Agency in 2004. Javier Solana, the first EU High Representative for the Common and Security Policy (1999-2009) and first Head of EDA (2004-2009), also shares his recollections and analyses in an interesting and exclusive article for European Defence Matters.

We also sat down with those who, as Chief Executives, have steered the Agency through 15 exciting yet challenging years: Nick Witney (2004-2007), Claude-France Arnould (2011-2015) and Jorge Domecq who is currently (since 2015) in charge. Alexander Weis, who served as Chief Executive from 2007-2011, could unfortunately not attend this joint interview.

Member States’ views on EDA’s role and achievements in EU Defence are represented in this magazine by Finnish Defence Minister Antii Kaikkonen who explains in his contribution why the Agency is “the right intergovernmental platform for joint capability prioritisation, planning and development”.

In a series of six articles, we then describe and assess what can probably be considered as EDA’s main achievements over the past 15 years during which the Agency has established itself as: - the main architect of EU defence capability priorities; - the manager of European defence research; - the European hub for multinational capability development; - the military voice and interface for EU policies; - Europe’s training pitch for enhanced interoperability; - the guardian of coherence among the newly set-up EU defence cooperation tools.

In the ‘Industry Talk’ section, MBDA’s new CEO Eric Béranger shares his views on how European defence cooperation in Europe (and EDA’s role in it) have evolved over the past 15 years and what the industrial prospects and challenges are for the future. He also touches upon the implementation of the recent EU defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF).

The NATO view on European defence, EDA and EU/NATO cooperation is provided for this magazine by former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy & Planning, Heinrich Brauss, who is now a Senior Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).

Thoughts and reflections by representatives of some of EDA’s main partner organisations as well as a very interesting and inspiring outlook analysis (‘Quo Vadis EDA?’) by Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit of the research department of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague) round off this very special European Defence Matters magazine.     

Have a look immediately – and enjoy!

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