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Updated: 1 week 4 days ago

How can data management improve the circularity of defence capabilities?

Mon, 02/05/2022 - 09:40

Under the EDA-managed Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED), more than 30 experts from 13 countries across Europe met on 26 April 2022 to prioritise the way forward on the role of data for circular economy in European Defence.

Experts from EDA’s participating Member States, defence-related industry and Research-and-Technology Organisations (RTOs) gathered in two sessions of IF CEED working groups (so-called ‘Project Circles’). The core of the discussion covered how to improve circularity by information sharing across the defence-related value chain, while protecting classified or business-sensitive data.

The Project Circle ‘WFD’ discussed the implementation of the article 9(1)(i) of the Waste Framework Directive regarding the reporting of substances of very high concern. It focused on the associated ‘SCIP’ (Substances of Concern In Product) database, its use within the defence supply chain, the implementation of the Directive’s provisions across Member States and issues related to compliance with defence-specific requirements, such as rules on export of military systems.

Then, the Project Circle ‘Circular Data’ started its work on the broader use of data as an enabler for circularity in Defence. Presentations explored the potential uses of data and the concept of ‘Digital Product Passport’, by building on recent initiatives in civilian applications able to cross-fertilise and transfer innovative technologies to the defence sector. Participants shared experiences and views on the needs, benefits and barriers of the implementation of a data-sharing scheme in the military context. They discussed topics such as higher standards of data protection needed for classified information and the relevant scope of data to be shared across supply chains.

Both Project Circles established first priorities, aiming at making the most of data management to develop circularity principles in the defence sector.

The Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) is co-funded by the European Union (under the LIFE programme) and the Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - Directorate of Defence.

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Categories: Defence`s Feeds

CE in Poland for high level talks

Wed, 27/04/2022 - 16:33

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý visited Poland this week (26/27 April) for high-level talks with the Deputy Minister of Defence, Marcin Ociepa, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Major General Piotr Błazeusz, as well as with the Defence Policy Director and the National Armament, Capability and R&T Directors. Mr Šedivý also met with representatives of the Polish defence industry. The trip to Warsaw was part of Mr Šedivý’s ‘tour des capitales’ that, since last year, sees him visiting all EDA Member States.

The discussions with Deputy Minister Ociepa, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Major General Błazeusz and other interlocutors at the Ministry of National Defence mainly focused on Poland’s involvement in EDA’s current and future activities, the war in Ukraine and its potential impact on EU defence cooperation and spending, future defence investment programmes and cooperation opportunities, EDA’s role in the implementation of the EU defence initiatives (especially the ongoing work on the second Coordinated Annual Review on Defence, CARD), the implementation of the recently adopted Strategic Compass, the upcoming revision of the EU Capability Development Priorities, as well as the establishment of the Defence Innovation Hub in EDA, as agreed by EU Member States in the Strategic Compass.

To date, Poland participates in 38 EDA projects and programmes, representing 28% of EDA’s total project portfolio. Of these, six are capability development projects, including cooperation on the EU Multimodal Transport Hub Network, EU Satellite Communications Market, Additive Manufacturing for Logistic Support and Maritime Surveillance. Currently, Poland participates in 32 research and technology (R&T) projects, out of which 17 are ongoing and 15 under preparation. Poland is also the lead nation for four among them that cover passive radar, electronic warfare, maritime monitoring and biometric vehicles for underwater Intelligence surveillance and recognition (ISR). The total value of EDA programmes and projects in which Poland participates currently stands at €178 million (Apr.2022). Poland is also participating in a total of 13 PESCO projects of which it leads one, the project aiming at establishing a Special Operations Forces Medical Training Centre.

“I am grateful for Poland’s active involvement in the Agency’s work, especially, for its leading role in various important collaborative defence research projects run in the EDA framework. We need the leadership of Member States, such as Poland, to push joint research and innovation within our Armed Forces because new disruptive technologies and innovations are reshaping the whole defence sector. I would also thank Poland for its very active engagement in PESCO where is participating in a range of crucial capability projects which aim to fil existing European shortfalls.  All in all, I can only thank the Polish authorities for their strong commitment to EDA’s activities and European defence cooperation in general, and encourage them to pursue on this path”, Mr Šedivý commented.

Polish Deputy Defence Minister Marcin Ociepa said: “The big shift in the worldwide security situation associated with the war in Ukraine has changed the perspective on what is the regional status of Poland. This shows how important maintaining a technological advantage over potential adversaries is and how necessary is strengthening investments and efforts in defence, including R&T. Increasing tensions and the deteriorating security situation accelerated works on the new Homeland Defence bill that rises the GDP defence spending benchmark from 2,3% until 3% starting from next year and sets up conditions for increasing a number of personnel up to 300.000 over the next decade. We believe that the use of available instruments within EU and NATO to improve effectiveness of activities, and achieve more by acting together is crucial. Within the EU framework we recognize great relevance of the EDA, with support on Cat B research projects, CapTechs vehicles and new initiative with regards to HEDI - Hub for European Defence Innovation, and the European Defence Fund. Having all that in mind we would like to thank EDA for the work you have been doing to strengthen and increase the level of cooperation of joint capability building and defence innovation.

Industry

On 27 April, Mr Šedivý also met with the CEO of the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), Mr Sebastian Chwałek, to discuss EDA’s industry engagement and a range of other industry-related topics.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Call issued for EDA Defence Innovation Prize 2022

Tue, 12/04/2022 - 09:54

EDA today issued a call for applications from parties interested in participating in the ‘EDA Defence Innovation Prize 2022’ which, in close cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), is dedicated this year to the following topic: Space-based surveillance and reconnaissance defence technologies (space domain) focusing on debris and artificial orbiting objects. 

Applicants are called to submit stimulating innovative solutions & technologies on Space-based surveillance and reconnaissance defence technologies (space domain) focusing on debris, artificial orbiting objects, and man-made objects with unexpected behaviour. The topic was chosen against the background of an increasingly crowded space environment which makes it necessary for military users to address the issue of identifying and tracking debris and man-made objects in all orbital regions. In this context, satellite operators - including military ones – are urgently looking for collision avoidance tools and solutions to support their decision-making for dedicated manoeuvres.

The proposed technologies and innovative solutions are thus expected to focus on:

  • Enhanced Space Traffic Management (STM) capabilities for military purposes and dual-use, for instance: tracking in all orbital regions for orbit refinement; safe deorbiting and rapid manoeuvring of military satellites; predicting and avoiding potential collisions, among others.
  • Awareness and tracking of debris and artificial objects, for instance: tracking in all orbit regions for natural and artificial objects; tracking and identifying of objects and threats in space; enhanced ability to maintain real-time awareness of the space domain; space debris detection and tracking through satellite grids; detection of very small LEO debris; space-based telescopes and radars, among others.

The winning idea/concept will be awarded 30,000€.

For the evaluation of ideas, ESA’s Space Debris Office will provide its expertise on space debris environment modelling, technologies for observation and mitigating space debris, as well as from its experience in collision avoidance for ESA’s missions.

How to apply?

The deadline for submitting applications is 9 September 2022.

The contest rules and application criteria/details can be found here, (plus the annexes to the call for applications here).

The prize will be handed over during the 2022 EDA Annual Conference in Brussels later this year.

Submitted innovations must be the applicants’ own intellectual property. However, submissions may include improvements of already existing ideas, new combinations or adaptations of them applicable in a different context. The applicants must demonstrate the innovative added value of their ideas, compared to what exists already. Proposals must be innovative, implementable through a collaborative project and financially affordable in terms of future development and exploitation.

Who can apply?

The contest is especially (but not exclusively) aimed at non-traditional defence industries (civil or dual-use producers) and researchers as they play a growing role in inventing and creating the disruptive capabilities that Member States’ Armed Forces will need tomorrow. The contest also provides a good opportunity for small and medium sized enterprises, research organisations and universities involved in defence R&D activities to demonstrate their know-how, maximize dual-use synergies and create partnerships with key players in the defence field.

Background

Since 2018, the Agency organises the 'EDA Defence Innovation Prize' which rewards companies and research entities who come up with ground-breaking technologies, products, processes, or services applicable in the defence domain. The contest aims to stimulate defence innovation in Europe and provide non-traditional defence stakeholders (civil industries, SMEs, research organisations, universities, etc.) with an opportunity to showcase their know-how in domains relevant for defence.

 

More information

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Stefano Cont starts as new Capability, Armament & Planning (CAP) Director

Fri, 01/04/2022 - 09:52

Major General Stefano Cont has been appointed EDA Capability, Armament and Planning (CAP) Director as of 1 April 2022. He previously held the position of Italian Defence Cooperation Attaché in Washington where his primary duties were to promote bilateral military relations and enhance cooperation in research and development of defence programmes. 

“I am honoured to join the European Defence Agency at a crucial moment for European defence in general, and for the Agency in particular. At a time when defence expenditure is expected to increase significantly throughout Europe because of the war in Ukraine and heightened global security threats, European cooperation and collaborative capability development will be key to make sure the money is spent well and efficiently. EDA will have a central role to play in making this cooperation possible, and I look forward to contributing to this important work as the Agency’s Capability, Armament and Planning Director, together with its highly qualified and experienced staff”, Stefano Cont stated when he took up his new post.

As Capability, Armament & Planning Director, Stefano Cont will lead a key directorate that has a crucial function in EDA’s overall mission because it prepares the programmes of tomorrow by maximising synergies between capabilities, armaments and research & technology. The Agency’s main capability programmes are all under the responsibility of this directorate - from military mobility and air-to-air refueling (AAR) to satellite communications and cyber defence. Mr Cont’s directorate also leads the Agency’s work on the EU’s Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD – for which the second report will be presented by the Agency in November) and plays a central role in the upcoming review of Member States’ Capability Development Plan (CDP). Both tools are central for steering and guiding collaborative and coherent capability development in Europe.

Mr Cont holds degrees in Aeronautical Sciences and Political and Military Sciences from Federico II University in Naples, and Midwestern State University (USA). He also has Masters in International and Military’s Strategic Studies (Rome), Public Management (MSU-USA) and National Security Strategy (National Defense University-USA) and a doctor title in International and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Trieste.

More information  
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Field trial held to populate future European Terrain Database

Mon, 28/03/2022 - 09:24

EDA is working on the establishment of a European Terrain Database (ETDB) which will include a vast selection of images taken from across Europe to be made available to Member States’ Armed Forces for multiple military purposes. To this end, a Multinational Field Trial Exercise was held on 23/24 March at the land test centre of the Italian Armed Forces (Centro Polifunzionale di Sperimentazione) in Montelibretti near Rome. 

More than 30 experts from military test centres based in Italy, Sweden, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Portugal participated in the exercise co-organised by EDA and the Italian Secretariat General of the Defence and National Armaments Directorate - Technological Innovation Department. The first part of the event took place outdoor, in the wider area of the test centre, and was aimed at acquiring images with several cameras working in different spectral regions (visible, long wave Infrared, short wave Infrared) under diverse configurations (mounted on a drone or grounded). A large number of pictures of different terrain landscapes were taken, with and without a specific target. During the second part of the exercise, all these images were uploaded onto the prototypic software platform of the future European Terrain Database which will be installed on EDA servers in the coming months, ready to be populated by users from different participating Member States with unclassified images in different spectral regions (visible, Infrared wavelengths and microwave). The stored pictures will also include information and metadata deemed necessary or useful for their military usage in test and/or research activities.

Once established and fully accessible, the database can be used, for instance, for target recognition, the assessment and improvement of camouflage effectiveness, the testing and enhancement of sensors in different terrains, the generation of synthetic images or the support of modelling and simulation activities. 

The exercise participants came from different expert communities with an interest in the ETDB, particularly scientists and technicians specialised in Optronics and Radar sensor design (including materials) and performance prediction, design, development and testing of new camouflage, visible and infrared signature and Radar Cross Section mitigation solutions. The future dataset can be employed by the Ministries of Defence of all participating Member States for R&T initiatives as well as for operational and training purposes. The multinational field trial was therefore an excellent opportunity for those experts to meet and explore potential cooperation opportunities among European defence test centres.

The event was organised in the framework of EDA’s Defence Test & Evaluation Base (DTEB) initiative, which was launched in 2010 to collect, share and harmonise defence test & evaluation standards and procedures at European level. In the meantime, the DTEB has developed into a dynamic and useful network, not only of European Military Test Centres, but also of companies, universities and public/private research centres operating in the sector of defence technologies.

 
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA’s Annual Report 2021 is out!

Fri, 25/03/2022 - 09:31

2021 has been a year of significant developments in the security and defence domain, both for Europe and the EU institutions in general, and for the European Defence Agency (EDA) in particular.

Amid rising threats in an increasingly tense geo-strategic environment, especially along the EU’s borders (build-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine), EDA was involved last year in all major efforts to bring EU defence cooperation forward: from the preparation of the Strategic Compass (eventually adopted this week) and ministerial discussions on defence innovation, to the implementation of PESCO and European Defence Fund (EDF) sponsored projects and the launch of the second Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) cycle. The 2021 Annual Report, published today, provides a comprehensive overview of the work accomplished in EDA’s various activity domains throughout the past year.

The report reflects the progress made in the wide spectrum of the Agency’s activities, from its central role in the implementation of the EU defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF) and the increasing number of defence research and capability development projects and programmes (+11% compared to 2020), to the launch of new enablers and incentives for defence cooperation and EDA’s growing interface role towards wider EU policies.

From Personnel Recovery to Cyber Defence and C-IED exercise

Among the many 2021 highlights was the Agency’s successful involvement in the multinational Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) Exercise ‘Bison Counter21’ hosted by Italy in Sardinia. The Agency also prepared the launch, in 2022, of a new EDA Bison Counter C-IED Exercises Capability Building (BC-EX) project which foresees at least three additional exercises in 2023, 2025 and 2027.

2021 also saw EDA taking over the role of project manager for two important Cyber Defence and Communication & Information Services (CIS) projects financed under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP): one aimed at developing a European Cyber Situation Awareness Platform (ECYSAP), and other one meant to develop a European Command and Control System from strategic to tactical level (ESC2).

EDA’s prototype Tactical Personnel Recovery Mission Simulator (TPRMS) was inaugurated in November 2021 at Italian Air Base Poggio Renatico. The new Virtual Reality-based simulator, which allows Personnel Recovery teams to collectively rehearse tactics, techniques and procedures in a risk-free environment, marks a significant achievement as no such capability currently exists within Europe.

The PDF version of the 2021 Annual Report can be downloaded here.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA and DG DEFIS joint away day

Thu, 24/03/2022 - 18:01

Senior management and staff of EDA and the European Commission’s Directorate General Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS) met on 18 March for a day-long work retreat designed to bring the respective teams together, enhance mutual knowledge and understanding about the respective priorities, objectives and ways of working, to foster cooperation on a growing number of European defence topics relevant to both organisations, and to identify additional opportunities for improved interaction in the future.

The meeting on the initiative of DG DEFIS Director General Timo Pesonen and EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, was the first informal get-together of this kind between select staff of the Agency and DG DEFIS. The retreat took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere and was hailed by both sides as particularly timely given the tense security and defence situation in Europe following Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the various ongoing EU defence activities such as the European Commission’s recent Defence Package, the adoption of the EU Strategic Compass, and the Commission/EDA taskings stemming from the recent informal meeting of heads of state or government in Versailles.

The discussions during the day were structured in two main parts. The morning session was devoted to capability development (with a special focus on how to make best use of EDA’s activities and tools in support of the European Defence Fund managed by DG DEFIS) and defence innovation, especially on how to develop synergies between EDA’s activities and European Commission policies and initiatives in this domain. In the afternoon, several breakout groups composed by specialists from both sides discussed how to improve cooperation on topics such as EDA support to EDF (from upstream to downstream), EDF project management, defence innovation (including on how to shape the partnership with the Commission to ensure synergies between the soon to be established Hub for Defence innovation within the Agency and initiatives announced by the European Commission under the EU Defence Innovation Scheme) as well as the prospect of promoting and supporting joint defence procurement among EU Member States.

It was agreed by both EDA CE Jiří Šedivý and DEFIS DG Timo Pesonen that such informal consultations should be held again in the future.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

IF CEED workshop looks at EU dependency on critical raw materials for defence

Fri, 18/03/2022 - 15:50

Some 90 experts from across Europe met on 15 March for a workshop organised under the EDA-managed Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) to discuss the crucial question of Europe’s dependency on critical raw materials that are relevant to defence. 

The workshop built on the consolidated work of EDA’s Materials CapTech to discuss and assess how circularity can contribute to reducing those dependencies. The event gathered representatives from Member States’ Ministries of Defence, the defence industry, research institutes and centres, foundations and universities. Specific contributions were also made by the European Commission’s DG DEFIS and DG GROW as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Participants discussed circularity principles and defence supply chain specificities, and addressed concrete ideas, for instance how critical raw materials could be recycled from Li-ion batteries and superalloys, or how alternative coatings could be used in the production of specific parts of defence equipment. The idea is that the IF CEED’s joint discussions and activities, coupled with the identification of possible funding and financing sources, will help trigger concrete collaborative projects with a clear and coherent roadmap. 

The Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) is co-funded by the European Union (under the LIFE programme) and the Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - Directorate of Defence.

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Categories: Defence`s Feeds

National Armament Directors meet at EDA

Fri, 18/03/2022 - 10:19

EDA’s Steering Board in National Armament Directors’ (NAD) composition met on 16 March under the new chairmanship of Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation. The meeting allowed National Armament Directors to discuss European defence cooperation in light of the changed security environment. They also exchanged views on the Agency’s support roles in the European Defence Fund (EDF), innovation in EU Defence, EU-NATO cooperation, as well as on environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in defence.

Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation, opened the first physical EDA Steering Board of National Armaments Directors since the COVID-19 pandemic, “We come together in a time when the European security environment has drastically changed. New and vital requests in the area of defence procurement will need to be addressed quickly. It is important that we use the tools we have at our hands to improve our defence capabilities in cooperation whenever possible.”

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý emphasised in his update in relation to the war in Ukraine, “EDA’s role is to support Member States. In this time of crisis, I want to reiterate that the Agency is at the service of Member States, and we will support you wherever we can in the short-, mid-, and long-term.”

After a presentation by Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý on the progress made on a wide range of EDA projects, programmes and activities, National Armaments Directors discussed the different ways and means the Agency supports the European Defence Fund, also to explore additional options for optimising this support. To that end, a specific Task Force has been established within EDA to coordinate the Agency’s contribution to the various phases (upstream, implementation and downstream) of the EDF. It was stressed that a continued close cooperation between Member States, DG DEFIS and EDA remains crucial to fully exploit the potential of the EDF for the benefit of a more coherent European capability landscape and a more competitive defence industry.

EDA’s enhanced role in defence innovation was also discussed by NADs, including the Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI) within the Agency. The topic will also be on the agenda on the upcoming Steering Board meeting in capability directors’ formation. EU-NATO cooperation was also discussed, in the presence of NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Camille Grand. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues were also on the agenda of NADs based on an EDA paper, including an action plan, for addressing the impact on European defence of ESG standards and taxonomy issues discussed in the context of the European Commission. Finally, new defence cooperative opportunities were addressed and discussed by NADs, including in the important area of common procurement.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA & Switzerland: 10 years of cooperation

Thu, 17/03/2022 - 09:37

Ten years ago, to the day, on 16 March 2012, was signed the ‘Framework for cooperation between the European Defence Agency and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport of the Swiss Confederation’. 

This so-called Administrative Arrangement (AA), the second of only four AA so far signed by the Agency with non-EU countries, sets the frame for enabling the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) to participate in specific EDA projects and programmes related to research and technology (R&T) as well as armaments cooperation, in a spirit of mutual benefits and reciprocity. Since then, cooperation between participating EDA Member States and the DDPS has continuously deepened. Initially mainly focussed on R&T, Switzerland’s engagement at EDA has progressively expanded also into capability development and training.  

“The way our Administrative Agreement with Switzerland was filled with life and active engagement in joint projects and programmes over the past decade is exemplary of how the Agency and European third countries can and should engage in defence cooperation in a mutually beneficial and reciprocal way. I can only commend the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport for this collaborative attitude end encourage it to continue this path”, said EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý.

“Cooperation with the European Defence Agency is of central importance. The cooperation has gained momentum over the last 10 years. This development confirms that the cooperation with the European Defence Agency is the right way forward for Switzerland. The current situation in Europe shows that cooperation, especially in the technical development areas, is more important than ever. International collaboration and partnership, based on humanitarian principles, are the best means against armed conflicts and for peaceful coexistence”, said Ambassador Rita Adam, the Head of the Swiss Mission to the European Union.

Today, Switzerland is involved in six EDA Capability Technology Groups (CapTechs) and has joined several research projects such as, for instance, the Protection of Autonomous Systems Against Enemy Interference (PASEI) project in the land domain. Switzerland is also involved in several capability development activities, from cyber to Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED), and is also sharing its national defence planning priorities with the Agency to support the identification of possible collaborative opportunities with EDA countries. In addition to that, the country participates in a number of EDA activities where the Agency acts as the military voice towards wider EU policies, namely the Single European Sky Military Aviation Board (ESMAB) related to Single European Sky, and in the Consultation Forum on Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector. Concerning the area of synergies and enablers, multinational helicopter training is a clear priority for Switzerland which is about to join EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme. Switzerland is also actively participating in the Agency's Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum and taking part in several expert groups to build common approaches.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

CE in Hungary for high level talks

Sat, 26/02/2022 - 10:32

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý visited Hungary on 23-24 February for high level talks with Defence Policy Director Gergely Németh, Chief of Staff Major General Tibor Bozó, as well as the national capability director, Major Gen. László Sticz, the deputy national armaments director, ret. General László Tömböl, and the research and technology director, Brigadier General István Filótás. A scheduled meeting with Defence Minister Tibor Benkő had to be cancelled due to the events in Ukraine. The trip to Budapest was part of Mr Šedivý’s ‘tour des capitales’ around all EDA Member States.

The discussions with Defence Policy Director Németh mainly focused on Hungary’s involvement in EDA’s current and future activities, the need to drive defence innovation in Europe and the prospect of reinforcing EDA's role in supporting Member States in this area, the contributions the Armed Forces can make to the EU’s Green Deal policy, the state of play of the ongoing Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) cycle 2021-2022 and the follow-up on the findings and recommendations of the first CARD report presented in November 2020, the state of play in the PESCO implementation, the functioning of the European Defence Fund (EDF) as well as the preparations for the EU’s Strategic Compass to be approved in March. Hungary provided a comprehensive presentation of the results and future ambitions of the Zrínyi force modernisation programme and its commitment to cooperation in EU capability development. The Chief Executive was impressed with Hungarian progress and outlined the ways in which Hungary can build on that progress and cooperate even more efficiently at a European level.

Hungary participates in 10 EDA projects & programmes including the Agency’s helicopter trainings & exercises, the EU Multimodal Transport Hubs programme, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defence Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) project, the Multinational Modular Medical Unit (3MU) programme, the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory (JDEAL) or the Agency’s research project into Fuel Cells for Soldier Systems (FUSS) for which Hungary is even the lead nation. The total value of EDA programmes and projects in which Hungary participates currently stands at €37 million (Feb.2022).  

"I am particularly grateful for Hungary’s active role in the Agency’s helicopter training and exercise programme. We can count on the country’s important support in this domain since many years. In 2017, Hungary hosted one of our flagship helicopter exercises, called ‘Fire Blade’, and it will host it again later this year, in June, for a second time. Hungary’s leadership in support of our helicopter exercise programme is very much appreciated, and I can only thank the Minister for this. The country also acts as the lead country for an important collaborative defence research project managed by EDA that is looking into the development of new, enhanced soldier-sized fuel cell energy sources.  Another example of Hungary’s engagement is its participation in the CBRN Surveillance as a Service project which was the first PESCO project for which EDA’s direct support was requested and which is now run in the framework of the Agency. The project has even further developed into a Reconnaissance Surveillance System (CBRN RSS) project, supported by Hungary and four other countries, under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP)", Mr Šedivý commented. 

Hungary’s Defence Policy Director, Dr. Németh welcomed the delegation of EDA led by the Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, for a two-day visit in Budapest, and delivered the apologies of the Hungarian minister of defence, who could not meet the Chief Executive due to his duties related to the sudden worsening of the crisis in and around Ukraine. "Due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic, this was Mr. Šedivý’s first official visit to Hungary since he assumed his position in 2020. The Chief Executive’s trip to Hungary was very much appreciated in this very challenging and busy period. The timing was also relevant in light of the substantial progress we are witnessing in the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU. The discussion on the Strategic Compass is ongoing, and Hungary is contributing to this document with an initiative in the field of capability development. We believe that the Compass should define a clear level of ambition for CSDP. With EU and NATO membership as the cornerstones of Hungarian defence policy, our country is a committed contributor to Euro-Atlantic security. Hungary highly appreciates the Agency’s work on the defence initiatives, namely the Capability Development Plan (CDP), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the Coordinated Annual Review (CARD). These initiatives will certainly improve collaboration among Member States and help them identify capability development opportunities. Hungary’s comprehensive Zrínyi Defence and Force Development Programme aims at modernising and revitalising the Hungarian defence forces. This wide-ranging development programme gives us the opportunity to benefit from the EU defence initiatives, and it has positively affected the entire Hungarian defence sector, giving us more room for further cooperation. The modernisation programme underpins Hungary’s efforts to become a more active player on the international stage as well, including within the framework of the Agency. As a founding member of PESCO, Hungary is committed to its successful implementation. After the 4th wave of PESCO project generation, we are now involved in 28 PESCO projects, with a special focus on the EUROSIM PESCO project led by Hungary. EUROSIM will be among those 26 PESCO projects, out of 60 projects altogether, which are foreseen to reach their full operational capability by 2025 and produce tangible results. EDA’s support to EU Member States is indisputable. The Agency, with its broad network and expertise, is an essential platform for developing and improving military capabilities through collaboration. We ensure the Agency of our continued support and cooperation We are looking forward to the next CARD cycle as well as to the Agency’s future work on defence innovation", he said.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Activation of first capability developed under PESCO points to strength of cooperation in cyber defence

Thu, 24/02/2022 - 08:29

For the first time a capability developed within the framework of EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project has been formally activated in an operational context. The Lithuania-coordinated Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security (CRRTs) typically consists of 8-12 cybersecurity experts pooled from six participating EU Member States – Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania – who can provide assistance in the event of a cyber incident. This week, the CRRTs were activated following a request from Ukraine to help the country's institutions facing cybersecurity challenges. 

EDA Supporting PESCO & Cyber Defence Cooperation

The Cyber Rapid Response Teams project was launched within the first wave of PESCO projects and has been operational since 2019. CRTT was the first of the currently 60 PESCO projects to reach full operational capability (FOC) in May 2021. The cyber experts pooled within the project are available to assist EU Member States, EU institutions, EU CSDP missions and operations as well as partner countries, contributing to the EU common capacity to prevent, deter and to respond to cyber threats.  

EDA also brought its cyber expertise to bear within the project in its early stages, supporting the project for one year (November 2018-2019). EDA’s Information Superiority Unit provided its expert advice on cyber defence and cyber security technology, especially in the development of cyber toolkits for Cyber Rapid Response Teams. EDA continues its cutting-edge work in cyber defence through its cyber defence programme and trainings.  

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý said: “This marks an important moment in the continued development of PESCO from rhetoric to reality. The Cyber Rapid Response Teams capability shows how defence cooperation projects have an inherent value and benefit from pooled resources and joint expertise. I am proud that EDA helped support this project in its early stages and its activation as an operational capability underscored that PESCO is becoming more operational and beginning to deliver on its aims.  

PESCO remains a process for European defence cooperation, an additional 25 projects are expected to deliver concrete results by 2025. EDA has already provided support to eight PESCO projects and stands ready to support its Member States going forward”.  

Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs) allow the Member States to help each other to ensure a higher level of cyber resilience and collectively respond to cyber incidents. CRTTs are equipped with a commonly developed deployable cyber toolkits designed to detect, recognise and mitigate cyber threats. Teams would be able to assist with training, vulnerability assessments and other requested support. In practical terms, this could mean support in monitoring the threat landscape, detecting and mitigation of cyber-attacks or supporting the further investigation of cyber-attacks. 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

New Energy Consultation Forum project to promote low carbon military camps

Thu, 17/02/2022 - 10:09

A French project idea to enhance the resilience and viability of fossil free and low carbon military camps has received funding from the French Ministry of Defence (MoD) for conducting a feasibility study. The 'ENSSURE' project (ENergy Self-Sufficient REsilient military base) was conceptualised under the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) under the leadership of France and with the support of Belgium, Bulgaria and Norway. EDA also provided technical support to the project, including for accessing EU funding.

ENSSURE aims at exploring the feasibility of energy self-sufficiency for infrastructure needs, including electrical islanding capacity, in small to medium-sized permanent military bases, through the combined use of renewable energy sources (RES), energy management and energy efficiency tools and methods (see project fact-sheet via this link).

In this regard, the project aims at implementing, on a medium size military base, a demonstrator including a wide range of energy performance actions. Buildings’ energy efficient’s renovation and ambitious energy management will be combined with a smart grid relying on renewable production and storage. This holistic approach will enable to reach:

  • Total fossil fuel independency for the buildings energy needs;
  • Near-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) related to the buildings;
  • Resilience of critical military activities through autonomous off-grid capability.

As a first step towards those ambitious objectives, the French MOD launched a feasibility study. The first goal of the study is to conduct an energy audit of the Nouâtre military site, where the ENSSURE demonstrator will be deployed. The second goal is to propose different scenarios to achieve the environmental and resilience objectives of the ENSSURE project and to compare those scenarios on technical, economical, and operational levels. And the third goal is to provide complementary information on the expected fallouts of the project. To support the implementation of the findings of the feasibility study, the French MoD will prepare a funding application for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Considering the potential impact of ENSSURE's implementation on the energy efficiency of military camps, EDA has provided technical assistance to the French MoD to elaborate the project idea and access national and EU funding.

EDA will continue providing the most mature defence energy-related projects with tailored support in their application for funding at the European or national level. This process has already led to the success of RESHUB – the first CF SEDSS project idea to receive EU funding. These achievements demonstrate that the Consultation Forum is the appropriate EU platform for initiating practical defence energy projects and bringing them to the next level.

About the CF SEDSS

The Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) is a European Commission funded initiative managed by the EDA. The Forum was established with the primary goal to create a defence energy-related community to share information, knowledge and best practices on improving energy management, increasing energy efficiency and buildings performance, utilising renewable energy sources in the defence sector and enhancing the resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure. To address these objectives, and with the support of the European Commission, EDA has implemented two phases: the first phase took place from October 2015 to October 2017 and the second one from October 2017 to August 2019. Building on the successful outcome of these two phases and to address emerging and future challenges in the field of energy, EDA and the European Commission launched on 1 October 2019 the third phase, which will run over a period of four years until 30 September 2023. CF SEDSS phase III is funded by the European Union's (EU) Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 882171.

During phase III of the Consultation Forum, EDA supports Member States' MoD tackle energy security challenges, including energy efficiency and buildings performance, RES solutions and the resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure. In this context, EDA helps MoDs to develop defence energy-related project ideas and identify available funding opportunities through its "IdentiFunding" tool.

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Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Future military scenarios: evolution or revolution?

Tue, 15/02/2022 - 14:35

Throughout 2021, the European Defence Agency (EDA) held a Technology Foresight Exercise the results of which will help identify and define the main challenges Europe’s armed forces will most probably have to face in the next 20 years and beyond, as well as the defence toolbox needed to tackle them. 

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This article was first published in EDA’s latest European Defence Matters magazine N°22

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In the short term, the exercise outcome will feed into the upcoming revision of the EU’s Capability Development Plan (CDP) to be steered by EDA. It will also serve for future updates of EDA’s Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) and the Key Strategic Activities (KSA).

The methodology applied and the activities developed were designed to support the central objective of the foresight exercise: the identification of new technologies, weak signals and innovative trends to support the R&T and capability planning processes and inform future defence policies and programmes of the EU and its Member States. To achieve that, the exercise looked up to 20 years into the future, to provide a strategic vision of the possible impact those new technologies will have on defence in 2040 and beyond. The exercise was based on a methodology which combines different existing methods and processes along with best practices and lessons learned from the wider EDA community of foresight practitioners. 

10 future scenarios identified

The exercise stretched over 2021 with successive activities and meetings that brought together representatives from different international organisations, Ministries of Defence, non-governmental bodies, academia, industry and civil society. With the help a multidisciplinary group of foresight experts, so-called Futures Tellers, multiple possible futures were described in the Futures Narratives meant to widen people’s vision and imagination and to encourage them to think outside the box about what could be possible towards 2040+, and what kind of challenges this would entail. Based on these narratives, the experts then entered a complex thinking and discussion process (Divergent Thinking, Convergent Thinking) from which, at the end, emerged 10 future scenarios, i.e. developments which, according to the experts, are very likely to materialise over the next 20 years in Europe – all of them somehow relevant for defence:

  • Software-based battlefields: a scenario where software and algorithms will determine military missions’ success more than platforms, as the result of disruptive developments and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), faster communication networks and system-of-systems defence solutions
  • Space as an operational military domain: by 2040, all global powers will have a fully established space force resulting in opportunities but also in threats and challenges. This scenario will call for the establishment of new concept of operations, regulatory frameworks and international agreements
  • Extended and augmented reality everywhere, also in defence: the merger of brain-computer interfaces and augmented/virtual reality in the battlefield will lead to a pervasive robotisation of the battlefield and the rise of (mis-)information-driven capabilities
  • Dominance of unmanned and autonomous platforms on the battlefield: in 2040, the extensive integration of unmanned platforms in the military domain will trigger major changes to the structure and organisation of Defence Ministries, particularly as regards military operational doctrine, equipment, acquisition policy and logistics implications
  • Hybrid human-machine teaming, also in the military: by 2040, there will be a seamless integration and cooperation between humans and machines. This scenario deals with the consequences this development will have on technology, as well as ethical and regulatory frameworks
  • Proliferation of more and more sophisticated biological weapons: by 2040, climate change, global migration and the rise of megacities will result in new diseases, natural catastrophes and new resistant microbes created by the widespread misuse of antibiotics and other drugs. New biohazard stemming from the use of synthetic biology and gene edition technologies will emerge, which may be used as a bioweapon or biothreat
  • Enhanced cognitive abilities of soldiers (human enhancement): this scenario outlines the key impact advances in biotechnology, synthetic biology, gene edition technology and brain-computer interfaces will have on soldiers as those technologies can be used to enhance human being’s cognitive and physical capabilities
  • Real time mapping of dynamic environments: by 2040, quantum sensing and quantum navigation will have made leaps ahead in the development resulting in real-time mapping capabilities of every changing environments. The consequence on the military capabilities are addressed in this scenario
  • Use of misinformation: by 2040, the misuse of information will become a weapon targeting all information systems and enabling a scale of influencing operations challenging the capability of nation-states to counter or control. The boundaries between military and civilian domains will continue to blur
  • Environmental problems, energy supply, climate change: by 2040, climate aspects and biodiversity will become geo-strategic drivers and subjects of conflicts and confrontations. Energy supply, too, will remain a major factor of strategic dominance. From a defence point of view, and despite the huge investments made in new energy generation and storage systems, energy will remain a critical challenge for most defence systems and operations.

The impact those 10 scenarios will likely have in the defence domain, and the types of adaptations they will require, were then analysed from different time perspectives, i.e. very short term (2024), medium term (2030) and long term (2040).

Final conclusions 

A final report with the exercise conclusions should be available by the end of March on the exercise website.

 
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA study calls for stronger focus on AI-supported detection & recognition of targets

Tue, 01/02/2022 - 12:11

EDA has accomplished a two-years study (2020-2021), called ARTINDET, into how Artificial intelligence (AI) applications can be used to improve the automatic detection, recognition, identification and tracking of small, fast-moving targets in a complex battlefield environment. In such a hostile and difficult context, high-performance electro-optical (EO) imaging systems together with high spatial resolution radars seem to be best solution to efficiently detect and mitigate these new threats. One of the main conclusions of the study, is that AI significantly enhances the performance of those two technologies related to image pre-processing, fusion and inference. Another finding of the study points to the future: additional research efforts should be put into these promising technologies which can make a difference for defence capabilities. Hence EDA’s proposal to launch a dedicated project in 2022.  

The study developed and analysed new image processing techniques of imaging systems relying on AI based on deep learning paradigm. For that purpose, images captured by high-resolution cameras and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operating with Wide Field of View (WFOV) fed the different algorithms tested. The different techniques implemented and tested are designed to be integrated in a dedicated HW/SW architecture for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). ARTINDET analysed all the required steps for the deployment of this kind of system. 

Urban area & open sea 

Concretely, the study used two scenarios for object identification: one in an urban area and one focused on ship detection/recognition at open sea. For each of the two scenarios, two data sets were created, composed of both EO and radar images, and two AI algorithms were developed: one for the segmentation in urban scenario (mainly critical building identification) and one for the detection/segmentation of ships. New AI-based image fusion and resource management techniques were also developed.  

The study revealed that the usage of the new AI-based algorithms leads to a considerable improvement of the identification and detection performances, also due to the automatic and  ‘intelligent’ choice of the images supported by machine learning and neural networks.  

Additional work to be done 

The study also highlights the necessity of further work on topics such as: 

  • The creation of an EU military image data base for AI-based system training and testing;
  • Further algorithm developments; 
  • Standardisation, certification and validation of AI algorithms; 
  • Hardware architecture implementation; 
  • Extended measurement campaigns for AI processing performance analysis and validation.  
EDA project in the starting blocks 

That’s why the Agency has proposed to Member States to launch a dedicated EDA Cat B project, called AIDRIT (Artificial Intelligence for Automatic Detection Recognition, Identification and Tracking of Difficult Target) which, if accepted, could start in 2022. Along others, it would look into the afore-mentioned additional work highlighted in the ARTINDET study. Both the study and the potential AIDRIT project idea are perfectly aligned with EDA’s action plan on AI. There is also realistic possibility that this topic could be the subject of one of the next calls for proposal under the European Defence Fund (EDF). 

Background 

Small targets coming from different directions and new intelligent and sophisticated weapons operating in complex scenarios represent nowadays the new asymmetric threats in the battlefield. In this hostile and difficult context, the new high-performance electro-optical (EO) imaging system allows to efficiently detect and contrast these new threats. High resolution multidimensional (multiband/multispectral, hyperspectral, multiresolution) EO sensors are designed to have enough diversity for improving detection, recognition, identification and tracking (DRIT) of difficult targets. The main challenge stems from the huge quantity of data produced. On the one hand, this is good because it gives a certain level of completeness in the information; on the other hand, it represents a raising of computational costs and an increase of the image processing complexity. Low contrast distributed targets make their identification and visualization by the operators still really demanding and sometime impossible. Against this backdrop, automatic processing would be helpful with a drastic reduction of reaction time for decision, often crucial in military missions.  

New techniques based on AI making use of deep learning and/or machine learning, seem particularly useful for image processing of high-resolution camera, when operating with wide field of view (WFOV) for the detection of difficult targets (low contrast, low signature, small size and operating in degraded visual environment). Moreover, applications on camera mounted on unmanned air vehicle (UAV), where full images cannot be streamed to the ground station, or when multiresolution imagery is needed, are new challenges where AI can also help. AI can have applications and provide benefits on data fusion coming from homogenous or heterogenous sensors, particularly from imaging radar and cameras, for a better situational awareness picture, and on the implementation of aid decision making tools and missions’ planning. AI can also be efficiently exploited in modelling and simulation for data generation and user training. 

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CE visits Prague for high-level talks

Thu, 27/01/2022 - 16:57

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý is pursuing his ‘tour des capitales’ this week with a visit to the Czech Republic (26-27 January). Today, he met with Defence Minister Jana Černochová and capability, armaments, research and defence planning representatives at the Ministry of Defence, as well as with Pavel Fischer, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Committee of the Senate of the Parliament. He also had a meeting with the Chief of Defence, General Ales Opata.

The exchange of views with Minister Černochová focused on the implementation of the EU defence initiatives and Czech Republic’s priorities on security and defence for the upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Minister Černochová and Mr Šedivý also discussed the participation in EDA’s current and future activities and the need to drive defence innovation in Europe and the prospect of reinforcing EDA's role in supporting Member States in this area, the implications of the EU’s Green Deal policy on the military, the second cycle of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) which is currently underway, the state of play in the PESCO implementation, the functioning of the European Defence Fund (EDF) as well as the preparations for the EU’s Strategic Compass to be approved in March.

“I want to thank the Czech Republic for its constant support to EDA and its active involvement in the Agency’s activities. As we speak, the country participates in 23 EDA projects and programmes, from helicopter training and the manual neutralisation of improvised explosive devices to medical support and research into innovative materials for defence applications. Let me express a special word of appreciation for the leading role the Czech Republic plays in our Multinational Modular Medical Unit project whose objective is to develop deployable and sustainable multinational Medical Treatment Facilities available for the full spectrum of CSDP missions or other multinational engagements. This is important because we currently lack specific medical assets to perform medical support to crises management operations. The Czech Republic is also active in PESCO, to which it currently participates in 8 projects and is a leading country in the project 'Electronic Warfare Capability and Interoperability Programme for Future JISR Cooperation'. Czech industrial entities also take part in EU funded activities and participate in the projects funded through the EDIDP. Therefore, I can only thank the Czech authorities for their leadership in this important domain, and for their general commitment and support to the European security and defence, as well as to EDA”, Mr Šedivý commented.

The Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová said: “I very much appreciate the opportunity to welcome the delegation of EDA led by Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, for a two-day visit in Prague. Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is the first official visit of Mr. Šedivý since he assumed his position in the spring of 2020. However, I think that the timing is relevant, as it is only two months ago when our new government started to work. I am happy having this opportunity as one of my priorities as the Minister of Defence is to put greater emphasis on multinational efforts, both in the EU and NATO context. I am glad that we managed to hold two bigger events together with the EDA delegation: a round table discussion with Ministry of Defence managers on the first day, and a seminar with the representatives of national defence industry associations on the second day. When assessing the content of the visit in my personal meeting with Mr. Šedivý, I expressed our full support for the strengthening the role of the EDA within the European defence cooperation. I mentioned CARD and PESCO, and notably welcomed EDA’s efforts of further improving working contacts with the Commission (DG DEFIS) and NATO HQ Staffs. We expect EDA to support us in our focus on defence innovations, particularly emerging disruptive technologies. The role of the Agency in this area is indispensable. Therefore we welcome steps taken towards the creation of a Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI). At the same time, we call for complementarity with the NATO efforts as well. I also informed Mr. Šedivý that we see the need for improving participation of our experts in different working formats under the EDA umbrella; it is not an easy task, but we want to work on it. The Czech Republic very much appreciates EDA’s effort around wider EU policies, notable Single European Sky, mobility and on the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH); in this context I raised my worry linked to the application of the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) taxonomy within the Green Deal policy, which in its current application contradicts the interest of European defence industries. This serious problem needs to be resolved, and I expect the Agency to lead a joint campaign. We also briefly touched upon the preparations of the Strategic Compass, which is to be finalised soon; it is an important conceptual document that sets tasks for further developing CSDP, and particularly for strengthening European defence cooperation. The first steps of its implementation fall into period of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council. Concerning the Czech EU Presidency, Mr. Šedivý and I also discussed how the Agency could support and participate in different events we plan to organise in the defence area. I assured the Chief Executive that the Czech Republic wants to be an active member of the Agency. Finally, I expressed my support for the Agency-led effort related to the preparation of the Administrative Arrangement between EDA and the U.S. Department of Defense; I believe that meaningful, balanced, and mutually beneficial cooperation with the US will contribute to the strengthening of the Trans-Atlantic partnership”.

Industry event

Today, Mr Šedivý also participated in an industry workshop with Czech defence industry representatives, chaired by the Deputy Minister for Defence Industrial Cooperation, Tomas Kopecny. He also had a bilateral meeting with Jiří Hynek and Kateřina Stejskalová from the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic (DSIA).

 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA’s New Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence Underway

Thu, 27/01/2022 - 09:03

The new Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) implements both policies and opportunities of the circular economy into the European defence domain by building common transnational projects. These projects enhance the defence sector’s environmental sustainability and contribute to the EU Green Deal by boosting an efficient use of resources.  IF CEED, which will run for two years, is managed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) with total financial contribution of €784,000 from the European Commission (EU LIFE Programme) and Luxembourg’s Directorate of Defence. 

IF CEED supports the application of the EU Green Deal’s Circular Economy approach to the European defence sector, based on an active and cooperative community that involves EU Member States’ Ministries of Defence, the defence industry, research-and-technology-organisations, academia, financial institutions, private associations, as well as other national and international public bodies. The forum aims to incubate cooperation projects with as many Member States involved as possible. 

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, said: “Under IF CEED, EDA is supporting Ministries of Defence, defence-related industry, and many other actors to take up in a structured and coordinated manner a paramount challenge of our times. Together with the EDA’s other sustainable defence initiatives, IF CEED contributes to the role that EDA is called to play within the implementation of the European Climate Change and Defence Roadmap.”

Circular Economy in Defence  

The benefits of transposing circular economy principles in the defence domain is paramount to reduce environmental impact while also strengthening Europe’s strategic autonomy, through greater recycling of resources, lower waste levels and reducing Europe’s dependence on imported strategic materials and components. IF CEED is an important forum to address these challenges. To this end, the forum’s goals are to:  

  • Incubate collaborative circular-related projects and their respective consortia, including precise roadmaps;  
  • Enable transnational innovation and lessons learnt to apply the circular economy concept to the defence sector, while creating new business models; 
  • Promote new circular-related knowledge and skills across all defence stakeholders. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, Mr François Bausch, said: “Recent assessments have shown us that value chains in the defence sector contribute significantly to the heavy carbon footprint of defence. Besides that, in a world of increased competition for raw materials, we urgently need to improve our systems of reusing and recycling such materials. These facts have motivated Luxembourg to support the set-up of the Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence. We see a great opportunity here to promote and be part of potential collaborative projects and roadmaps to boost circularity in European defence.”

Incubation Clusters 

By addressing the technological and organisational aspects needed to successfully implement circularity principles, IF CEED is organised around two Incubation Clusters, namely ‘Materials and Innovative Designs’ and ‘Processes and Digitalisation’. Within the two clusters, nine working areas are in place including: critical raw materials, circular additive manufacturing, circular materials for textiles, sustainable eco-design, EU waste regulation, green public procurement, eco-management audit strategies, circular data and spare parts management. 

The primary activities foreseen within the project groups include for example on-mission additive manufacturing solutions and recycling of smart textiles based on innovative technologies.  

Director-General at the European Commission’s DG Environment, Florika Fink-Hooijer, said: “The European Defence Agency’s new forum for circular economy in European defence is a welcomed initiative to support concrete circular solutions in a key sector for the EU. The transition towards a circular economy envisaged by the Green Deal is a truly systemic change, which requires all sectors to transform and reap the benefits that transition brings. With the support of the LIFE Programme, the new forum will help open up new pathways to achieving circularity and green innovation in European defence and potential synergies with civilian crisis management.”  

Cooperation in Defence 

Dedicated expert groups across the defence domain (e.g. Ministries of Defence, defence-related industry, research-and-technology-organisations, academia, institutes), partly based on EDA’s working bodies specialised in their respective field, will work together to deliver on the above-mentioned goals of IF CEED. 22 Member States and dozens of private organisations are already engaged to achieve the overall objective to incubate cooperation projects. A dedicated IF CEED website has been launched as a “one-stop shop” for circular economy in European defence, by including national contributions. A first Annual General Conference, which will focus on the first concrete findings, is planned to take place in September 2022.  

Background  

Member States involved in IF CEED to date are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden. 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Second EDA Live Cyber Exercise for Military CERTs Concluded

Wed, 26/01/2022 - 09:32

EDA’s second-ever live-fire cyber exercise specifically dedicated to improving European cooperation between Member States’ national, military Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) has wrapped after a two-day exercise. The exercise gathered more than 200 experts from 19 EDA Member States and Switzerland, all of them connecting remotely from their working locations. The exercise kicks-off the technical track of the 2022 edition of the EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference (MIC). The second phase is scheduled to take place in June in Lille (France) where the lessons learnt from the exercise and more strategic topics will be discussed with senior military leaders and decision makers.  

 

The objective of this week’s exercise was to bring together military CERTs and observe incident management dynamics with a particular focus on information-sharing, a key factor in modern cyber defence. The exercise also builds upon the lessons learned from the first MIC cyber exercise held in February 2021. 

Opening the exercise, EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, said; “The EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework identified already in 2014 the absence of a milCERT network, and the EU Cybersecurity Strategy called for developing such a dedicated network, welcoming EDA’s efforts in this regard. Last year’s MIC was the first step to start closing this gap. This year’s MIC edition can be seen as the second step in what for sure will be a long journey.” 

MIC 2022 was first planned under the Slovenian Council Presidency last year. Luxembourg is contributing with their National Cyber Range to make the MIC2022 technical track a success. The exercise preparation, execution and evaluation are furthermore supported by the Estonian company Cybexer Technologies who also provide their cyber range for the exercise. 

Red versus Blue 

The operational environment created for the exercise is based on advanced Cyber Range technology, with professional attackers from the military and industry, launching live cyberattacks against infrastructure defended by teams from other Member States. The exercise that ran this week tested fictional cyber-attacks, pitting an attacking (red) team against defending (blue) ones.   

The MIC exercise was specifically designed for military CERTs and included platforms, tools and technology specific to the military domain; the entire exercise scenario was conceived to use military planning and strategy similar to what is used in real cyber military operations. The intent was not only to provide a realistic scenario, but also to push participants out of their comfort zone, asking them to use all tools, processes and procedures possible, even those not directly at hand in the exercise platform. Thus, creating an exceptionally realistic exercise environment. 

At the end of the exercise, Finland was awarded overall winner of this MIC22 technical track while Hungary (task solving), Austria (situational report) and Italy (information sharing) won awards for specific categories. 

Towards a new EDA Collaborative project

Today, EDA cyber activities range from defining key priorities at EU level looking at the capability development, R&T and industrial dimensions, including initiatives in support of cyber defence training, education and exercises. To build on the benefits and lessons of the MIC, EDA envisages the possibility to establish an EU milCERT Operational Network as a new ad hoc project within the Agency, with Member States currently invited to signal their interest in participation. In order to close the gap as identified in the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework and the EU Cybersecurity Strategy the project will provide a solution to identify, develop and sustain the establishment of a network of MilCERT, which will ultimately facilitate the exchange of information and foster a stronger response to cyber incidents. 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

CE in Austria for high level talks

Tue, 11/01/2022 - 10:34

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý is in Austria (10-11 January) for high-level talks with Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner, Chief of Defence General Robert Brieger, Defence Policy Director Dr Arnold Kammel as well as the national Capability, Armaments and Research Directors at the Ministry of Defence, Major General Bruno Hofbauer, Major General Harald Vodosek and Colonel Rudolf Zauner. The trip to Vienna is part of Mr Šedivý’s ‘tour des capitales’ that, since last year, sees him visiting all EDA Member States.

Yesterday’s discussions with Minister Tanner mainly focused on Austria’s strong involvement in EDA’s current and future activities, the need to drive defence innovation in Europe and the prospect of reinforcing EDA's role in supporting Member States in this area , the contributions the Armed Forces can make to the EU’s Green Deal policy, the follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations of the first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) presented in November 2020, the state of play in the PESCO implementation, the functioning of the European Defence Fund (EDF) as well as the preparations for the EU’s Strategic Compass to be approved next March.

A particular focus was put during these talks on two specific Austria-led projects in which the Agency is directly involved: - the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) project launched under PESCO which, at the request of its participating Member States, is supported by the Agency since 2019 when a dedicated EDA project was established on this topic; - and the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Reconnaissance Surveillance System (CBRN RSS) project, funded and implemented under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), for which EDA has now been tasked to act as the project manager (see related news).

“I am particularly grateful for Austria’s very active involvement in the Agency’s work and, especially, for its leading roles in the Counter-IED area, where it hosts the European Centre for Manual Neutralisation Capabilities (ECMAN), and the CBRN reconnaissance and surveillance domain. Back in 2019, the CBRN SaaS project was the very first PESCO project for which EDA’s direct support was requested by the participating Member States, led by Austria. This served as an important signal and example which, since then, has been followed by the owners and drivers of four other PESCO projects. We hope that many more will follow in the future because the Agency is keen and ready to provide this kind of expertise-based support to its Member States.  I can only thank the Austrian authorities for their strong commitment to EDA’s activities and European defence cooperation in general, and encourage them to pursue on this path”, Mr Šedivý commented.

Austria’s Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner said: “Today I met the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Jiří Šedivý to discuss current projects and future cooperation between the European Defence Agency and the Austrian Armed Forces. EDA supports the EU Member States in developing and improving military capabilities through cooperation in the field of R&D. With its network and expertise the EDA is thus an important partner as well as an important instrument of the EU to support smaller member states in European defence cooperation. Austria has been an active and tireless member of the EDA since it began its work in 2004. With more than 30 projects, Austria is one of the most committed member states, ranking sixth next to Poland. For our Ministry of Defence, the PESCO project "CBRN Surveillance as a Service" has become a particular showcase project. It was launched in 2018 and aims to develop the use of unmanned ground systems and drones equipped with sensors to detect CBRN warfare agents in a timely manner. As an intergovernmental agency, the EDA plays a decisive role in promoting innovation both for Austria and other Member States. Concerning the future, we want to focus even more on cooperation and collaboration with the Defence Agency, for the safety of the population in Austria as well as in Europe as a whole”.

Industry event

Today 11 January, Mr Šedivý will meet with the CEO of the Austrian Defence & Security Industry (ASW), Reinhard Marak, and other industry representatives and participate in an industry event.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA, project manager of CBRN RSS

Mon, 10/01/2022 - 15:54

EDA has taken over the role of project manager of the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Surveillance Reconnaissance Surveillance System (CBRN RSS) project which is being funded and implemented under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).  

The decision was made following a request by Austria on behalf of the four Member States participating in a related PESCO project, the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) project, which is already supported by EDA since 2019. In this new role, the Agency will not only manage all CBRN RSS implementation activities with the consortium, but also interact with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) in relation to this project.

With the aim of targeting capability development through the support of innovation and competitiveness of the Union’s defence industry, the EDIDP 2020 calls for proposals, of which CBRN RSS was part of, sought to fund 26 projects from an array of defence domains with a broad geographical coverage. Since the first call in 2019, the EDIDP has shown its success becoming a strategic enabler for Europe’s defence. 

From PESCO to Category B CBRN SaaS project

The CBRN project area can be traced back to 2019 when, for this first time, EDA was chosen to support the CBRN SaaS PESCO project. This decision resulted in the establishment of a so-called ‘Category B’ project within the Agency with four Member States participating (Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia). Under this new establishment, and as requested by the participants EDA further developed the project with the signature of a contract with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) as the consortium leader. The aim of the CBRN SaaS project, within the EDA framework, is to develop a technological demonstrator to deliver a recognised CBRN picture that will enhance knowledge-based decision-making for operations. The main deliverable will achieve the Initial Operational Capability of the PESCO project, which is aimed to be attained by the mid-2024. 

From CBRN SaaS to CBRN RSS

In the meantime, a new opportunity arose to even further develop the CBRN SaaS.  Indeed, in 2020, AIT used the EDIDP calls to submit a proposal for expanding the project into a Reconnaissance Surveillance System. With success, because in July 2021,  the CBRN RSS proposal was accepted as eligible. In addition, an EDIDIP Grant Agreement was signed in December 2021 between DG DEFIS and the respective industry consortium – represented by AIT as the consortium leader. Even though CBRN SaaS and CBRN RSS are implemented through different channels (EDIDP and EDA respectively), they are complementary and aligned in such a way that the contract under EDA’s Category B project is set to deliver a basic version of the technological demonstrator, while an enhanced version will be provided by the EDIDP project. In practice, this means that at the end, only one single technological demonstrator will be assembled. The main difference between both projects is therefore the funding schemes under which they fall. Timewise, both projects aim at achieving their expected results by  mid- 2024. 

EDA as project manager

The fact that EDA has been tasked to also manage the CBRN RSS project is testament to the participating Member States’ confidence in the Agency, but it also reflects EDA’s commitment and persistence to further support Member States in developing their capability spectrum. The RSS project will take its first step with the kick-off meeting between the European Commission, Industry Consortium, Member States, and EDA on 13 January.

EDA’s role as project manager of the CBRN RSS EDIDP project is envisaged within two different spheres. On the one hand, and within the EDIDP overall project, EDA will act as the primary interface between Member States, the industry consortium, the European Commission, and third parties. This task will also see EDA  overseeing the implementation of the project on behalf of the participating Member States, including the supervision and validation of work packages as well as the management of schedules. On the other hand, EDA has also been tasked to act as the Programme Security Instruction (PSI) custodian within the security framework of the EDIDP project, which requires not only the coordination of requests by Member States, but also ensuring the compliance of the PSI provisions.

The new project manager role confirms EDA’s willingness to break new ground and take on new functions and responsibilities wherever it helps to bring forward collaborative European defence capability development. 

 
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