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Updated: 2 weeks 4 days ago

EDA Defence Innovation Prize 2021 winners revealed

Tue, 07/12/2021 - 15:15

During its Annual Conference, EDA also announced the two winners of the 2021 EDA Defence Innovation Prize. Launched in March, this year’s contest looked for the most innovative ideas, technologies and solutions related to Human-Machine Interfaces enabling Human-Machine-Teaming for Defence. After a thorough assessment of all applications received, the jury decided to announce two winners, each of whom is rewarded with €30,000.


The first of the two winning projects is called ASTARTES (Air Superiority Tactical Assistance Real-Time Execution System) and was proposed by Design AI, a German deep tech start-up specialized in Artificial Intelligence.

Frederik Mattwich, the company’s co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO), explains his team’s winning project as follows:

“Supporting human pilots with their tactical decision-making speed is an expected future role of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In order to overcome the ethical and technical challenges such an AI assistance system poses, many steps will be necessary to gain confidence and understanding of how AI decisions are made. We have identified one such step which is scientifically reproducing the published results from Google Deepmind’s AlphaStar. A planned next step is to transfer the results from a reproduced AlphaStar to ‘Command:Professional Edition’ which is used (among others) to teach air combat tactics in the German Officer Academy in Fürstenfeldbruck. Through this serious gaming approach, ASTARTES aims to visualise AI assisted tactical decisions and thus make it transparent as well as explainable, and also to facilitate its evaluation from a military personnel perspective. It will be essential for all stakeholders to understand the strengths and, most importantly, the drawbacks and limitations of AI in the context of military applications. Our overall vision for ASTARTES is the development of a digital (super) human-level AI assistance system, which will combine the data from all platforms and provide real time tactical support to a human commander in every situation, reduce his workload in the NGWS (Next-Generation Weapon System) context and speed up the OODA loop (observe–orient–decide–act) drastically. The AI is planned to potentially also support pilot training in an Live-Virtual-Constructive context as well as tactical scenario analysis”.


The second of the two winning projects is called COMBI (Bidirectional Communicator) and was proposed by Thales, a global high technology company active, among others, in digital and “deep tech” innovations.

Marc Gatti, Human Autonomy Teaming (HAT) Department Director at Thales AVS/DMS France, explains his team’s winning project as follows:

 “COMBI is a high-level operator ‘intentions’ translator from and to operator to and from plural intelligent systems within his working area.

The future of defence operations are expected to become even more complex. A similar mission to one carried out today will include several intelligent systems that combine the operator’s platform with those controlled remotely (teammates, drones, etc.). A more complex environment will not only increase the operator’s workload but also further distance from him to the vital decision-making process. Genuine collaborative work (from a human point of view) between humans and intelligent systems will be a game changer for future defence operations whatever the environment: ground, sea, sky or space.  Classically, the distribution of roles between human and artificial agent is called "authority sharing". It is limited to the analysis of the tasks to be performed (task analysis) and to the development of related autonomous functions. The operator is then responsible for adapting this assistance, to meet the technical parameters for carrying out the mission. However, authority sharing is not enough to tackle complex future defense missions (time consuming and technical skills). The collaboration level between human and artificial agents should be increased and this is the objective of the Human-Autonomy Teaming (HAT) concept. One of the most important characteristics of HAT is efficient dialogue between participants. This is the way to establish a shared representation of the situation to reduce misunderstandings and improve decision-making. However, the way dialogue is performed depends on the situation. To reduce the cognitive workload of managing complex systems, the communication level must be conducted at a high level of abstraction.

COMBI is composed of: - a top-down transfer function that translates pilot's high-level intentions into intelligible parameters for the solvers, optimizing their treatment; - and a bottom-up transfer function that translates solver results into the high-level pilot referential operational intentions and parameters”.

About the winners

Design AI GmbH is a German deep tech start-up specialized in Artificial Intelligence. It focuses on bringing state-of-the-art innovations from AI research to the industry in the areas of Reinforcement Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics. It manages to bridge the gap between user-centered concept development and agile research and development of AI systems, especially through the combination of Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence. Experienced in various industries, the company is focused on the defence sector, where it successfully brings state-of-the-art AI into the field of mission planning and execution.

Thales is a global high technology leader investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations: connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum technology. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers (businesses, organisations and states) in the defence, aeronautics, space, transportation and digital identity and security markets to fulfil their critical missions, by placing humans at the heart of the decision-making process.  In the field of aeronautics, Thales supports aircraft manufacturers, armed forces, airlines, operators, pilots, crews and passengers in making improvements to flight efficiency, safety and comfort. The secure, natively connected systems that Thales designs allow aircraft, helicopters and drones to fly under all conditions and to interface with all parts of the aeronautical ecosystem, on the ground or in flight.

About the EDA Defence Innovation Prize

The award, organised by EDA since 2018, aims to stimulate defence technological innovation in Europe, in particular by reaching out to non-defence R&T communities and innovators set to play an ever-bigger role in developing and producing Europe’s future defence capabilities. It is also meant to 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, maximize dual-use synergies and engage in partnerships with the defence sector.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Ministers call for innovation cooperation, warn against duplication

Tue, 07/12/2021 - 13:00

Following the opening speeches by Head of Agency HR/VP Borrell and European Council President Michel (see previous news), EDA’s Annual Conference 2021 continued on 7 December with a first high-level conference panel moderated by EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý and featuring no less than three Defence Ministers: Belgium’s Ludivine Dedonder, Slovenia’s Matej Tonin, and Poland’s Marcin Ociepa (Deputy Defence Minister).  

Belgian Minister Ludivine Dedonder said defence innovation should have three main characteristics: “It should be collaborative, capability-driven and, at the same time, adaptive and continuous”. Collaboration is crucial especially for countries of moderate sizes such as Belgium because for them, it is not possible to analyse, evaluate, develop and finance all new defence innovations on their own, the Minister stressed. At the same time, avoiding duplication is also imperative “because we cannot afford to finance duplicative programmes”.  Innovation must remain capability-driven, she added, “as one of its goals is to deliver top-notch military capabilities in support of the security and defence policies of our nations and the EU”. And it must be constantly adapted to the changing operational needs of the Armed Forces, Ms Dedonder insisted. EDA has a pivotal role to play “as it brings together research, technology watch, innovation, capability development and wider links with industry”. Creating synergies with other actors, including NATO, is also a role the Agency can take on, avoiding unnecessary duplication, the Belgian Minister said. “Innovation is key to make our Armed Forces more robust, more resilient, more agile and more precise in their engagements. In short: to build a better European military instrument of power”, she concluded.

Slovenian Minister Matej Tonin said that for ensuring its strategic autonomy and upholding the credibility of its security and defence policy, Europe needs “fresh, cutting-edge ideas and innovative thinking” in order to be able to face today’s new threats and keep up with the technological developments that are driving both the civil and military world. “In this respect, I want to put a special emphasis on the small and medium-sized enterprises, the SME’s, which can be vehicles for development because they are able to adapt and respond rapidly to innovative ideas”, he stressed.  Mr Tonin also underlined the need for Europe to cooperate also with its allies, especially NATO.   He expressed Slovenia’s support and appreciation for NATO’s work, especially the recent efforts to establish a Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) and a NATO innovation Fund, stressing the need of avoiding duplication with those initiatives. Creating a European Defence Innovation Hub within EDA is “a step in the right direction”, the Minister said, “but it should not create additional layers of administrative and financial burden” for Member States: “Complementarity and non-duplication between the EU and NATO are key”.

The Polish Deputy Minister, Marcin Ociepa, called on Europe and its Member States to be “open” to all types of stakeholders and innovation players, inside and outside Europe, “because the broad spectrum of threats and challenges today requires a broad-spectrum response”. “We are all witnessing today the power and unpredictability of hybrid warfare. Therefore it is crucial to enhance cooperation on developing creative and innovative defence capabilities to protect our citizens, borders and values”. In this respect, the technological independence of Europe is of great importance, Mr Ociepa pursued: “By all means, we should continue to develop the mechanisms facilitating the cooperation and protecting the European innovations and technologies. We cannot, however, curb the collaboration opportunities with other like-minded partners such the US, South Korea, Japan, Australia to just name a few (…) we all face the same challenges and threats. Defence innovation is a team game”. We also have to invest in defence innovation, “but in a smart manner”, the Deputy Minister said: “Increasing our defence budgets is not always the only answer. We have to make sure that each and every mechanism is complementary and coherent with existing EU funding instruments, namely the European Defence Fund, Horizon Europe or the European Innovation Council. We cannot afford to duplicate our efforts”. With NATO doing its work through the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) and a NATO innovation Fund, “EDA, as the potential host of the European Defence Innovation Hub, could and should facilitate EU-NATO cooperation in this domain and create interlinks between the instruments of both organisations”. And Mr Ociepa to conclude: “You can count on our support on this and on other topics”.  

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Annual Conference discussed Defence Innovation

Tue, 07/12/2021 - 11:02

The European Defence Agency’s Annual Conference 2021 entitled 'Innovation in European Defence’ was opened on 7 December with speeches by the Head of the Agency, HR/VP Josep Borrell, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. With Covid still around, this year’s conference was held in hybrid format with a vast audience representing the whole European defence spectrum (governments, armed forces, industry, EU institutions, NATO, think tanks and media) either connected remotely or physically present to listen to speeches and panel discussions and also actively take part in debates through Q&A sessions. 

Following a brief welcome word by EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, it was up to the Head of Agency, HR/VP Josep Borrell, to formally open the conference. In his opening speech, Mr Borrell expressed gratitude for this year’s choice of the conference theme because, he said, “our collective ability to innovate, both at EU and at national level, will determine the position of the EU on the global stage in the years to come”. However, the current situation leaves room for improvement as the EU and its Member States need to do “much more” in this field: “We need to do much more together and we need to do it now. We cannot wait. The choice for the EU is simple but a crucial one: either we invest in defence innovation or we will become irrelevant!”.

Mr Borrell insisted on the strategic importance of innovation, not only as an accelerator of economic competition but also as a key tool in the global competition that re-structures the international security environment. “Today, innovation is front and centre in the global strategic competition because it will restructure the international security environment (…) Those who gain a technological edge and set the standards today will dominate the future”, Mr Borrell said. This is also the case at the military level, with emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs), such as Artificial Intelligence. Often dual-natured, impacting both civilian and military domains, such technologies have the potential to alter the character of warfare, he explained: “To retain an edge over competitors and potential adversaries, we must use the potential of emerging technologies and develop high-end capabilities to equip our military forces across the full spectrum”.

“EU and Member States need to do more, together”

Being at the forefront of defence innovation requires that Armed Forces and Ministries of Defence have close cooperation with the civil sector which nowadays is driving both pure technological innovations and innovative uses: “With the rapid development of new technologies in the civilian sphere and their fast weaponization, today, more than ever before, innovation is shaping the global balance of power”

When comparing the EU and its Member States with other global actors, it is obvious Europe lags far behind in terms of investing in defence innovation, Mr Borrell said, “and the gap is widening”. For proof, “latest EDA data suggest that in 2020 EU Member States spent roughly €2.5 billion on Research & Technology – only 1,2% of the total defence expenditure, with a tendency for further decrease in the next two years, even though the related PESCO commitment sets the bar at 2% of the defence budgets”. Meanwhile, the US Department of Defence invests at least $14 billion each year in research and innovation, around 2% of the whole US defence budget, while Google spends on Research & Development almost 10 times more than what EU defence ministries spend together on Research & Technology. “We can no longer afford to sit on the side-line and watch the others doing. The EU and its Member States need to do much more on defence innovation. And they must do it more together”, he insisted. 

Towards a Defence Innovation Hub within EDA 

“EDA, as an intergovernmental Agency, has a crucial role to play in defence innovation” as technological innovation has been part of the Agency´s DNA since its creation in 2004, the Head of Agency pursued. Furthermore, there is the idea of establishing a Defence Innovation Hub within the Agency. “This is also one of the deliverables I have put forward in the context of the Strategic Compass”, said Mr Borrell: “By creating a network of defence innovation centres around Europe, this Defence Innovation Hub would promote synergies with the industrial sector; foster an ecosystem of Research & Development in defence and get innovative solutions closer to the military user. I hope this hub will soon be in place!”.      

And the Head of Agency to conclude: “Innovation in defence must be anchored in research & technology investments, but also in capability development, concepts and doctrines across all EU Member States (...) EDA is a great example of this integrated approach. Working together with the Commission and with Member States, EDA must ensure that defence innovation is not just an ambition on paper, but a reality!”.

Charles Michel: Support for Defence Innovation Hub within EDA


European Council President Charles Michel said in his keynote speech (via video message, see link above) that the EU’s strategic objective was to increase its ability “to act autonomously to safeguard our interests, uphold our values and way of life, and shape the global future”. “That’s why Europe’s strategic autonomy and our capacity to act alone, if so needed, is high on the agenda of the Heads of State and Governments. In this respect, the upcoming Strategic Compass is of utmost importance as he is meant to provide a vision for Europe’s security and defence policy in the future”, he said. Work on the Compass is progressing well, based on Mr Borrell’s initial proposal presented in November. Further input to the discussions is expected from the December European Council before EU leaders will then adopt the Strategic Compass in March when defence will again be a topic at the European Council.  

Europeans have also agree to work on a third EU-NATO declaration “because NATO is the cornerstone of Europe’s security and defence”, Mr Michel stated praising the “unique and essential cooperation” between the two organisations.  “We want to deepen this relationship and adapt it to today’s geo-political reality”, he said. However, Europe’s security and defence do not exist “in a vacuum” but are linked to its policies and achievements in other domains too, such as climate change or the digital transition. Through its regulatory power in those domains, Europe could strengthen its clout in the security domain too.  “We could take fuller advantage of our instruments if we used them in a more coordinated manner to achieve our strategic goals, for example in trade, development, neighborhood policy, climate policy, visa policy or humanitarian aid. Greater coordination means greater impact”“We, Europeans, must take our destiny in our own hands, cooperating with our partners when needed and acting autonomously when necessary, to be a credible and efficient global security provider and a soft geopolitical influencer”.

To achieve this, Europe needs more defence innovation, and EDA has a key role to play: “The next 10 years will be crucial for our capability development, and EDA has a unique role to play combining lessons learned from missions and long term technology trends and then integrating this concrete know-how into national defence plans (…) We must continue to link innovative technologies with their possible defence applications. And I know that we can count on you, the European Defence Agency and your unique experience and expertise. Your work is key to facilitating the uptake of defence innovation by our Member States”, Mr Michel stressed.  

And the President of the European Council to conclude: “We must also avoid duplication our efforts and wasting our resources. You, the EDA, can help link Member States’ national authorities with each other, and with EU institutions, agencies and bodies. You help identify defence-related technologies point to opportunities and provide a platform for cooperation. And you need a budget to fulfil your growing role. I am in favour of the creation of a European defence innovation network. I also support the creation of a European Defence Innovation Hub inside EDA”.

More information  
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Invitation to apply for donation of IT equipment

Mon, 06/12/2021 - 12:35

The European Defence Agency (EDA) will make available various IT equipment that is no longer used by the Agency (see list here) to non-profit organisations, local community centres or schools officially based in Belgium to support local activities. EDA invites interested parties to submit their application for this equipment in accordance with rules governing the donation laid down in the present invitation. A French translation of this invitation to apply is available here.

Donations of decommissioned IT equipment are made at the discretion of the EDA and decided on a case by case basis. The hard-drives and -discs of all equipment will be removed before being donated.

How to apply?
  • Applications must be completed using this application form. The completed application form should be submitted by email to before 25 February 2022
  • Please note that only application forms in English/French will be accepted
  • Applications must be signed.
Eligibility Criteria
  • To be eligible, applicants must be either a non-profit organisation operating in a social or educational field, a local community centre, or a public or not-for profit private educational establishment such as a school
  • Applications in the name of individuals will not be accepted. The Agency retains full discretion to assess whether applicants meet these eligibility requirements and may reject applications
  • Schools must be licensed by the competent local authorities. Accordingly, the application must include evidence that they are licensed schools (e.g. registration in the Ministry of Education, Government Official Journal etc.) Non-profit organisations must provide evidence that they are registered in Belgium (e.g. legal status, registration ASBL etc.)
  • Eligible applications will be evaluated by the EDA Disposal Committee and equipment will be divided between applicants, based on the motivation for the use of the equipment. 
Successful applicants
  • Successful applicants will be fully responsible for organising and paying the shipping from EDA facilities in Brussels to the final destination of the IT equipment, or for picking up the equipment from EDA's facilities in Brussels within 2 months of receipt of the confirmation letter from the Agency. The EDA does not have the resources to prepare and dispatch the IT equipment
  • Where a 3rd party is to pick up the equipment, the applicant should notify EDA of the name and details of the person(s) picking up the equipment, specifying the date and time of pick up (in agreement with EDA). Equipment will only be released upon signature and verification of documents.
  • Successful applicants will be asked to sign a letter upon reception of equipment, stating among others that the applicants:
  1. must accept EDA’s right to visit the project for which IT equipment has been donated
  2. must accept the right of EDA to publish details of the donation and the identity and location of the recipient on its website
  3. must accept that EDA will not provide any kind of support and guarantees for the equipment donated
  4. must agree to settle any taxes or duties payable for importing of the IT equipment in the country of destination
  5. shall make the shipping arrangements themselves and pay for all transport costs of the IT equipment from EDA's premises in Brussels to the final destination in Belgium; and
  6. shall ensure that the equipment is disposed of at the end of its life cycle in an environmentally responsible manner.
Data Protection 

The European Defence Agency is committed to the protection of personal data. Personal data collected by EDA will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. For more details, please consult the Privacy Statement: EDA Privacy Statement Donations IT Equipment 2021.pdf

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Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA finds record European defence spending in 2020 with slump in collaborative expenditure

Mon, 06/12/2021 - 07:20

Today, the European Defence Agency (EDA) published its annual Defence Data report for 2019-2020, detailing defence spending by the 26 EDA Member States. In 2020, total defence spending stood at €198 billion, marking a further 5% increase on 2019, and making it the highest level ever recorded by EDA since it began collecting data in 2006. EDA’s report also finds that 19 Member States increased their overall defence spending in 2020, with 6 raising spending by over 10%.

Sustained Rise in Defence Expenditure and Investment

At €198 billion, total defence expenditure corresponds to 1.5 % of the 26 EDA Member States’ gross domestic product (GDP) and marks the sixth year of consecutive growth. For the second year in a row EDA has recorded a 5% rise in defence spending, despite the economic impacts of COVID-19.

EDA’s Defence Data report finds that the sustained increase in overall spending is also reflected in national numbers. In 2020, of the 19 Member States who increased spending, 13 raised spending by 5% or more. 6 Member States raised it by 10% or more.  7 Member States reduced spending, up from 3 in 2019, for a combined total reduction of €1.42 billion.

Increased spending was also recorded in a variety of areas, with defence investments in research, development and procurement of new equipment continuing to grow. Defence investments by Member States hit EDA’s high-ever recorded figure of €44 billion, representing a 5% increase on 2019.

When combined, Member States have achieved the 20% benchmark of defence investment as a percentage of total defence expenditure, with 14 Member States allocating 20% or more, while a joint EDA recorded low of only 3 states spent less than 10% in this area.

New low in collaborative European defence spending

Despite the sustained rise in total defence expenditure, collaborative defence spending has continued to trend downward. In 2020, Member States spent a total of €4.1 billion on the procurement of new equipment in cooperation with others, a fall of 13% compared to 2019. The data submitted to EDA shows a significant reduction in European collaborative defence equipment procurement since 2016. Member States conducted just 11% of their total equipment procurement in cooperation with other EU Member States in 2020, falling well short of the 35% collective benchmark, which is also a commitment under Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).

European Defence Spending - 2020 Key Findings

EDA’s report, based on data voluntarily provided by Ministries of Defence, also finds that total defence expenditure represented 2.8% of total government expenditure. Additional findings include:

  • Of the €44 billion spent on defence investments, 83% or €36 billion were used for equipment procurement and 17% or €8 billion for research and development. The same percentage split as in 2019.
  • Procurement of new equipment has benefited most from increased spending with a record €36 billion allocated in 2020, compared to the recent low of €21 billion in 2014.
  • A record €2.5 billion was allocated to defence research and technology in 2020. The increase is driven by two Member States – France and Germany – who together provide more than 90% of the increase in R&T.

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý said: “The sustained rise in European defence spending is a positive development and 2020’s figures show that the errors of deep defence cuts following the 2007-2008 financial crisis are unlikely to be repeated. I particularly welcome the record €2.5 billion allocated to defence research and technology as a positive sign for the long-term, but equally hope to see more Member States invest in this key domain for European competitiveness and autonomy.

Through EDA’s work on European defence cooperation, I remain convinced that spending better means spending together. Based on the data we received, the downward trend on European collaborative spending is particularly concerning. There are reasons to be optimistic that this trend will be reversed in the years to come as PESCO projects mature, CARD focus areas are taken forward and the European Defence Fund is launched. It is now time for Member States to firmly move European defence collaboration from process to projects.

Uneven Investment in Defence Research & Technology

In 2020, defence Research and Technology (R&T) spending amounted to €2.5 billion, marking a massive 46% increase compared to 2019 and an EDA recorded high. This brings defence R&T expenditure as a percentage of total defence expenditure above 1% for the first time since 2014.

The trend of running defence projects predominantly nationally rather than collectively also applies to defence R&T. In 2020, Member States spent €143 million on defence R&T projects in cooperation with other EU states, representing 6% of Member States total defence R&T expenditure. This marks the lowest share recorded by EDA since it started collecting data in 2005 and is far below the benchmark of 20%. Uneven R&T investment is also evident here as 6 Member States – Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain – do achieve the 20% benchmark, of which 3 spend more than 50% of their defence R&T expenditure with others.


EDA collects defence data on an annual basis, and has done so since 2006, in line with the Agency’s Ministerial Steering Board Decision of November 2005. The Ministries of Defence of the Agency’s 26 Member States provide the data. EDA acts as the custodian of the data and publishes the aggregated figures in its booklets.

All data is collated (“total incorporates 26 EDA Member States”), and it has been rounded. Defence expenditure figures are provided in constant 2020 prices, to take inflation into account and allow for a comparison across years.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA Chief Executive holds talks in Croatia

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 14:06

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, visited Croatia this week (2-3 December) for high-level talks with Minister of Defence Mario Banožić, Chief of Defence Vice Admiral Robert Hranj, Defence State Secretary Zdravko Jakop, as well as the country’s national policy, capability, armaments and research directors. Mr Šedivý also met with Political Director Petar Mihatov (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and representatives of Croatian Defence Industry Competitiveness Cluster.

Discussions with Minister Banožić focused on the potential and opportunities for Croatia to grow its engagement with EDA. Mr. Šedivý took the opportunity to further present EDA’s work and projects, with a special focus on the cooperation opportunities identified in the first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the state of play in the PESCO implementation where Croatia is participating in seven projects.  Defence innovation, and EDA’s crucial role in it, were also raised with the minister, following up on the recent debate at EDA’s ministerial Steering Board. Several options for EDA’s future role are currently being discussed, including that of establishing a Defence Innovation Hub within the Agency. The ongoing work on the EU’s Strategic Compass was another agenda point. Mr Mr. Šedivý explained how the Agency contributes to the capability and technology dimensions (Invest chapter) of the Compass while insisting on the need for developing full spectrum, high-end capabilities by using the existing prioritisation and implementation tools such as the CARD, PESCO and the European Defence Fund (EDF).

“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to personally present EDA’s work and role to Croatia. This visit also allowed me to thank Croatia for its continuous support to the Agency and the different EU defence initiatives, including CARD and PESCO, which are crucial for bringing defence cooperation forward. I believe with the challenges that Europe is facing, cooperation remains the best and most effective way of addressing them. There is much potential in defence cooperation and the EDA for Croatia to exploit. I particularly welcome the opportunity to encourage the Croatian authorities to benefit further from collaborative opportunities in defence, especially using the Agency to their full potential”, Mr Šedivý commented.

Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banožić said: “The participation of Croatian companies in projects co-financed by the EDF opens up numerous opportunities. Certain amount of financial resources will need to be invested and this fact should also be considered when planning activities in the coming years. From the very beginning, Croatia has supported the establishment of the European Defence Fund and one of the priorities in the field of defence and security during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU was to support strengthening the competitiveness of the defence industry. Therefore, Croatia supported the initial proposal of 13 billion euros for EDF and also regarding the cooperation - we supported the requirement of having minimum 3 entities from at least three Member States”.

Croatia is involved in several major EDA projects and programmes, such as Military Mobility (under which two technical arrangements for air and surface cross border movement permissions were signed by Croatia on 16 Nov.), the Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear Surveillance as Service (CBRN SaaS) project where a Croatian company (Dok-Ing) is a member of the consortium implementing the project, or the Maritime Surveillance Network (MARSUR) which Croatia joined last year. Yet, the list of opportunities for additional involvement in EDA’s work is long.

The Chief Executive began his trip to Zagreb with a visit to the afore-mentioned Croatian defence company Dok-Ing where he stressed EDA’s industry engagement and the existing opportunities for industry to participate in and benefit from EDA’s activities, especially in the R&T domain.


Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA’s Munition Health Management project expands

Thu, 25/11/2021 - 09:48

EDA’s project on Prediction Models for the Implementation of Munition Health Management (PREMIUM), launched in May of this year with Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands as participating countries, has gained traction last week with three additional Member States joining: Germany, Poland and Portugal have become full members of the 4-year project which aims to improve Member States’ Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) based management of munition by developing models for the estimation of remaining life and health status. 

The project is meant to tackle the problem of inadequate models used by Member States to predict the life cycle and functional reliability of  materials used in munitions and missiles, or of newly developed materials. A better assessment and prediction of the materials’ ageing status and process can be achieved through accurate prediction models and corresponding sensors to measure the environment and change of material. 

More concretely, the objectives of the project are to: 

  • collect information, develop know-how and predictive models about the health status of munition for an efficient life cycle management;
  • develop more reliable ageing models at material (energetic and non-energetic) or component level to customise and integrate them into improved HUMS units;
  • harmonise the management approach across Europe and develop in Member States a common method for the surveillance of munitions and missiles.

The project is expected to perform analyses of ammunition life-cycle stored in mainland depots, on board of a ship, a fighter jet and an armoured vehicle, both in Europe and outside in operations. 

The expected military benefits of the project are improved missiles and munitions reliability and safety and reduced costs. 

The project is implemented by a consortium composed by 13 European organisations, namely: MBDA Italy, Italian National Research Council (CNR), The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI), BAE Systems Bofors AB, Polish Military Institute of Armament Technology (MIAT), Polish Military University of Technology (MUT), Research Network Łukasiewicz - Institute of Aviation (Ł-IoA), MESKO SA, Portugal LAETA-ADAI, CINAV, CINAMIL and CIAFA.


The PREMIUM Project started in May 2021 and builds upon  previous project called Munition Life Management or MLM (2015-2018), developed by EDA Capability and Technology group on Missiles and Munitions technologies.

MLM aimed to quantify and predict the influence of extreme conditions during Out of Area operations on safe and reliable use of ammunition. The participating Member States exchanged information concerning experiences of logistical and operational use of ammunition in Out of Area operations, on whole-life-assessment (incl. analysis on returned ammunition), data monitoring during storage and operational use, selection or development of models for predicting the environmental impact on safety and reliability.

More information:
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Upgraded version of ‘IdentiFunding’ tool launched ​

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 09:08

An improved, upgraded 2.0 version of EDA’s ‘IdentiFunding’ tool, an online platform that enables defence-related stakeholders (Ministries of Defence, institutes, industry, research-and-technology organisations, etc.) to easily and swiftly check if their defence-related projects and activities are eligible for existing EU funding schemes, has just been made available on the Agency’s website.

The tool is available since 2019 and was run under its 1.0 version until the end of 2020 by when it had been used by several hundreds of defence stakeholders. It then underwent the required technical maintenance work and is now back online in an enhanced, user-friendly 2.0 version on

Covering the EU’s multiannual budget (2021-2027)

The revised tool covers the full EU multiannual budgetary framework 2021-2027, including its related funding programmes. It encompasses 25 funding windows potentially accessible to defence actors, under the European Defence Fund (EDF), the Space Programme, Digital Europe, the Structural Funds, InvestEU, the Connecting Europe Facility (namely the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research - SESAR - and the European Military Mobility windows), European Investment Bank (EIB) loans, Horizon Europe and many other funding schemes, including programmes supporting the EU Green Deal (for e.g. energy, environmental and circular economy projects in defence).

‘IdentFunding’ is free-of-charge and allows to easily identify, in a confidential and in tailored manner, which funding sources at European level may be eligible for defence-related project ideas and activities.

Try it yourself at

For further questions:


Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Consultation Forum pursues work on defence energy transition

Tue, 23/11/2021 - 11:53

More than 170 experts from 30 European countries and different institutions and organisations participate in the 3rd Conference of the third phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS III) which opened today.

 The two-day online event (23-24 November), held under the auspices of the Slovenian EU Presidency and hosted by the Slovenian Ministry of Defence (MoD), will review and discuss the Energy Consultation Forum’s ongoing work (now in Phase III) to support the EU Member States' Ministries of Defence and partners in embracing sustainable energy models. The Conference will, in particular, showcase how the Forum, the largest European defence energy community, promotes innovative clean technologies, such as hydrogen, to help the defence sector in its energy transition. At the same time, the Consultation Forum also serves as the gateway for the defence community to identify and access EU funding opportunities for energy-related topics. Through the Forum, Ministries of Defence also share knowledge and national best practices in the defence energy and climate-related fields. During the Conference, participants are also updated on the latest developments regarding the EU’s objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and the progress made in implementing the EU's Climate Change and Defence Roadmap.

Defence needs to transition to become resilient

 The Conference was opened with speeches by Uroš Lampret, State Secretary of the Republic of Slovenia, Jiří Šedivý, EDA Chief Executive, and Jerneja Jug Jerše, Head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia. Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), gave a keynote speech.

In his intervention, Mr Lampret highlighted that Slovenia actively supports the EU's efforts to increase the sustainability of the energy sector. Particularly, the Slovenian MoD focuses on sustainable mobility projects and investments, energy rebuilding of infrastructure capabilities, and environmental protection. He emphasised that the Ministry recognises "hydrogen as an alternate fuel and energy carrier in the defence sector that will multiply the national efforts to decrease fossil fuel dependency". He also stressed that "it is important to raise awareness in the defence sector to adapt to climate change effects without compromising the effectiveness of armed forces". In this context, he noted that the "EU defence sector would not have such important impact on energy efficiency overall without EDA activities".

In his speech, Mr Šedivý highlighted some important international events, such as COP26 in Glasgow, which show "a high political momentum for energy and climate" and underlined that climate change significantly impacts our society and also "presents a risk for defence infrastructure and capabilities and the operational effectiveness of our armed forces." Mr Šedivý also stressed that "defence needs to transition to ensure resilience and avoid becoming obsolete", and move away from reliance on fossil fuels and outdated technologies and equipment. He provided examples of how EDA helps MoDs improve their energy sustainability and concluded that EDA would continue supporting the MoDs work and act as their "green ambassador". He called on MoDs to actively participate in helping EDA identify gaps "and address them through collaboration, share the word, and multiply our common success."

Ms Jug Jerše focused on the security of energy supplies, clean energy transition, and energy efficiency as the cornerstones of the EU’s energy policy. A fair and just transition towards a more sustainable energy system has been “the central issue of the recent COP26 Glasgow conference”, which “achieved some remarkable results” considering the complexity of negotiations. Ms Jug Jerše stressed the importance of the European Green Deal and the recently proposed Fit for 55 package, featuring a number of legislative initiatives where the public sector, and the defence and security sector as part of it, will play an important role. “We are advancing in the process of transforming both the energy and the defence sectors in Europe” and “we are encouraged by the increased public perception of the nexus between the two.”

Bart Biebuyck, in his keynote speech, said: “As a number of hydrogen and fuel cells technologies are entering the industrialisation stage, Europe is now ready to accelerate the deployment of solutions across different applications. Over the last years, we have been in close contact with colleagues at the European Defence Agency and Ministries of Defence across Europe to raise awareness of the potential of FCH technologies for decarbonising civil applications within the defence sector. We hope to continue with this successful collaboration in our oncoming partnership and to extend it to the wider FCH community”.

Next Conference in 2022

 The 4th CF SEDSS III Conference and 1st back-to-back CF SEDSS III Energy Technology Solutions Conference is scheduled to take place in Grenoble, France, on 8-10 June 2022 under the auspices of the French EU Presidency and hosted by the Ministry of Armed Forces of France and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

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. This 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.

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New EDA personnel recovery simulator inaugurated

Fri, 19/11/2021 - 15:42

EDA’s prototype Tactical Personnel Recovery Mission Simulator (TPRMS) was officially inaugurated on 18 November in Italy after achieving Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The new simulator marks a significant achievement for the European Personnel Recovery community as no such capability currently exists with Europe.  

An inauguration ceremony was organised at Italian Air Base Poggio-Renatico, the host organisation of the TPRMS. The formal opening was followed by a live immersion experience within the TPRMS where participants had the opportunity to engage in an immersive virtual reality simulation of Personnel Recovery (PR) missions. 

TPRMS from concept to capability

The TPRMS project was launched in April 2019 as a proof-of-concept demonstrator with an objective to test and evaluate a technical solution that uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology and simulation-based software that when put together can quickly and easily create a customisable and highly realistic operational environment. The simulator which can create conditions from across the globe offers an opportunity for PR forces to rehearse PR Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) in a risk-free environment. 

The development of TPRMS is conducted within a four-year timeframe (2019-2022) and is run jointly and co-financed by the European Defence Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence, which is acting as the project Lead Nation and Host Nation through its Air Forces.  

TPRMS also aims to demonstrate that such a capability provides at an affordable cost an immersive style of training that allows joint PR forces to hone their skills in a risk free environment that still offers a rigorous, realistic and repetitive PR training. EDA’s TPRMS project is a first step towards the creation of a European common approach in training joint PR forces through simulation and as a key enabler to the joint PR training process.  

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý said: “The TPRMS project demonstrates EDA’s enduring engagement in supporting its Member States efforts in aiming to find affordable and well-proven technical solutions that can contribute to overcome existing capability gaps for training within the EU, in this case in the PR area”.  

Project Team Personnel Recovery Meeting 

The event was organised back-to-back with EDA’s  40TH Project Team Personnel Recovery (PT PR) meeting and was attended by PR experts from seven EU Member States (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania) and three international organisations with expertise in Personnel Recovery (the European Personnel Recovery Centre/EPRC, the Joint Air Power Coordination Centre/JAPCC and the Air Operations Centre of Excellence/CASPOA). 


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EDA Helicopter Tactics Symposium held in Czech Republic

Thu, 18/11/2021 - 15:08

Some 50 helicopter tactics specialists and operators from 12 EDA Member States and Switzerland, and as well as representatives of EDA’s Helicopter Chief Instructor Team, the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), the NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ), the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC) met from 8-11 November in Ostrava, Czech Republic, for the Agency’s 12th Helicopter Tactics Symposium, hosted by the Czech Air Force.

Organised under EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), the event allowed European helicopter crews to discuss and share expertise and best practices related to helicopter tactics, national and international training and operational experience.

A first part of the symposium was devoted to drawing tactical lessons from previous EDA helicopter training activities, such as exercise “Hot Blade 21” held last June at Beja Air Base in Portugal, and EDA’s recent 7th Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC). Next year’s “Fire Blade” exercise, to be held in Hungary in June 2022 with a focus on Composite Air Operations (COMAO) and national training required by the participating Member States, was also discussed.

A second part of the exercise was centered on enhancing the common knowledge about other organisations and of the tactical procedures used in other partner countries. Here a wide range of topics were addressed, such as joint all domain operations, the NSHQ’s roles and responsibilities, the EPRC and personnel recovery, NATO’s Special Operation Air Task Units (SOATU) project, the German Air Force special forces H145M helicopters, evasion eraining against fighters, attack helicopter tactics and experiences, landing zone operations and evasion maneuvers against ground based air defence threats.

Switzerland, as a new HEP Member State, participated in its first HEP activity and briefed about their Air Force helicopter organisation and missions. MEDEVAC support using rotary wing assets was also addressed, including EDA´s AIR MEDEVAC project which is focused on support to operations.

A major milestone of this symposium was the introduction, by EDA’s Chief Instructor Team, of the new EDA HEP Standard Operating Procedures (HEP SOP) V5.0 following its formal release. This document is from now on the basis for all future EDA helicopter trainings, ensuring standardisation and fostering interoperability among European helicopter operators and units. 

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14 New PESCO Projects Launched in Boost for European Defence Cooperation

Tue, 16/11/2021 - 11:35

Today, the Council has adopted a new wave of joint projects within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework, which aims to deepen defence cooperation between Member States. 14 new projects are contained within this fourth wave, taking the total number of projects launched under PESCO to 60. Within today’s package, six are in the air domain, including the development of a European solution for the strategic transport of outsized cargo and a small highly deployable, multi-purpose Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). A total of 21 EU Member States are participating in projects in this wave.


The 14 projects launched in the fourth wave cover five military domains: land (2), maritime (2), air (6), cyber/C4ISR (2) and space (2). Projects range from the development of new military capabilities and the identification of future needs in areas such as air power and maritime surface escort, to enhancing the exchange of classified governmental imagery and joint training for main battle tanks. Projects to be taken forward will help increase the coherence of the European capability landscape and deliver operational benefits on the ground.

The PESCO projects adopted today by the Council also include:

  • Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

    The 5-nation project Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo (SATOC) aims to fill the critical shortfall for strategic transport for outsized and heavy cargo, a crucial enabler for military missions and operations. SATOC involves a gradual 3-step approach, firstly by identifying a sufficient number of project members – with possible third state participation, harmonising requirements and finally identifying and agreeing on a common European solution for the transport of outsized cargo.

    The five participating nations are: Germany, Czechia, France, Netherlands, Slovenia.  An initial project timeline for the collection and harmonisation of requirements will run until 2023 with a possible agreement on a European solution and a follow-on project foreseen in 2026.

  • Medium size Semi-Autonomous Surface Vehicle

    The 3-nation project, Medium size Semi-Autonomous Surface Vehicle (M-SASV) will develop a medium size (250-500 tons) semi-autonomous surface vehicle with multiple mission modules, such as Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), Anti-submarine warfare, Anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and Naval Mine Warfare (NMW).

    The M-SASV platform will be developed following a manned (when needed) and unmanned (when possible) approach, and will provide increased operational flexibility and crew protection. The design for M-SASV will focus on littoral operations, however the platform will be also deployable as part of naval task groups.

    The participating three nations are: Estonia, France, Latvia. The Initial Capability Requirements have already been drafted and industry partners are working to establish a consortium.

  • Next Generation Small RPAS

    The 4-nation project Next Generation Small RPAS (NGSR) aims to develop a small (150Kg) highly deployable, multi-purpose and multi-role tactical RPAS.  The system will be able to deploy, take off, land and operate in a tactical environment without need for a runway. The multi-purpose/multi-role aspect of the system will provide tactical commanders a wide multiplicity of tools in both the maritime and air domain.  

    NGSR will also have potential as a dual use system, namely for law enforcement and disaster/emergency agencies. This project also aims to reduce the radar, acoustic and infrared signature of small UAS. NGSR will also provide an additional European tactical RPAS as less than half of the platforms currently in service were manufactured in Europe.

    The four participating nations are: Spain, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia. An initial project timeline for ideation and incubation will run until 2023, followed by systems integration and interoperability tests in 2024 and 2025, finally aiming to deliver a first prototype in 2026.

  • Defence of Space Assets

The 6-nation project Defence of Space Assets (DoSA) aims to increase the EU’s operational efficiency in the space domain by making the best use of current and future space assets. Its main objectives include defining which technologies and identifying common operational needs will be needed tomorrow to defend space assets. DoSA involves a 3-step approach combining training for space military operations, space resilience and access to space and in-space manoeuvrability.

The six participating nations are: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Austria. An initial project timeline includes identifying a set of technological priorities and/or capabilities and a first joint exercise in 2022. Further specifications including a common concept of operations (CONOPS) a feasibility studies will be developed through 2024 and 2024 with a final proposition for future systems expected in 2026.

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý said: “The launch of the fourth wave of PESCO projects is an important milestone for European defence cooperation. These new 14 projects invigorate the PESCO process which along with the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) are now beginning to create indispensable synergies for Member States to develop effective and cost-efficient capabilities together. I am proud of the work the PESCO Secretariat has done to bring this fourth wave to the table, in particular EDA’s contribution in carrying out the capability assessment of projects. EDA has already provided support to eight PESCO projects stands ready to support its Member States going forward.


The development and lifecycles of military capabilities are undertaken with a long-term perspective. Each PESCO project has its own timeline, with the first projects already delivering concrete results and more projects planned to deliver results before the end of the next PESCO phase in 2025.

47 PESCO projects were approved in the first three waves covering all military domains. With work ongoing since their launch, it can be expected that between 24 to 26 out of the 46 ongoing projects will reach an initial operational capability around 2025.

Projects in areas such as training and simulation technologies can be developed quicker and may see results relatively early especially in the next three to five years. The successful implementation of the EUs Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs) project underscores how project timelines vary across domains.

Capability projects involving the harmonisation of requirements, development of complex prototypes with the involvement of industrial consortia will be delivered via a longer timeline. Larger capability projects have nevertheless taken smaller but significant steps forward such as the European Patrol Corvette, while some projects such a military mobility have also seen third counties invited to join.

60 projects now launched within the PESCO framework provides a boost to European defence cooperation. Many of the projects undertaken within PESCO will enhance the EU’s capacity as a security actor, contribute to the protection of the EU citizens, while maximising the effectiveness of defence spending.


The key difference between PESCO and other forms of cooperation is the legally binding nature of its 20 binding commitments undertaken by participating Member States. These include, increasing defence spending, planning and developing defence capabilities together with other members, whenever possible and improving the interoperability and joint use of existing capabilities.

As part of these commitments, Members States will ensure that the cooperation programmes and the acquisition strategies adopted by the participating Member States will have a positive impact on the EU's Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).


On 11 December 2017, the Council adopted a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). PESCO enables participating EU member states to work more closely together in the area of security and defence. This permanent framework for defence cooperation allows willing and able member states to develop jointly defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

An initial list of 17 projects to be developed under PESCO was adopted by the Council on 6 March 2018. A second batch of 17 projects to be developed under PESCO was adopted by the Council on 19 November 2018. And finally, a third batch of 13 additional projects to be developed under PESCO was adopted by the Council on 12 November 2019. One PESCO project from the first batch has been officially closed by its project members.

Each of the projects is carried forward by varying group of PESCO participating Member States (project members) and is coordinated by one or more PESCO participating Member States (project coordinators). The project members may agree among themselves to allow other participating Member States to join as a project member or to become observer to the project.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.


Categories: Defence`s Feeds

EDA Steering Board discusses defence innovation

Tue, 16/11/2021 - 11:21

Outcome of EDA Ministerial Steering Board meeting 

Defence Ministers met today at EDA’s Ministerial Steering Board under the chairmanship of the Head of the Agency, High Representative Josep Borrell. The main points on their agenda were the approval of the Agency’s 2022 general budget of €38 million, the negotiating mandate for the Agency for an Administrative Arrangement with the US Department of Defence and a discussion on how to reinforce EDA’s role in fostering defence innovation.  

Defence innovation and EDA’s future role 

Ministers had a debate on defence innovation at EU level, based on a Food-for-Thought paper prepared by the Agency. It followed a call from the Foreign Affairs Council (conclusions of May 2021) to reinforce EDA’s role in fostering defence innovation, including disruptive technologies, and the Council invitation issued to the Head of Agency to present possible options in this respect before the end of this year.  Among the potential options discussed by the Ministers was also that of establishing a Defence Innovation Hub within the Agency. It was agreed that, based on today’s debate, the Head of Agency will finalise and present its options in the coming weeks for further discussion at the Agency’s upcoming Steering Board meeting in R&T directors’ composition in December.  

AA talks with US, cooperation with third parties 

Ministers approved a mandate for EDA to start negotiations with the US Department of Defence on the conclusion of an Administrative Agreement (AA). The exact scope and modalities of the AA will be defined during the talks. In the joint statement adopted at the last EU-US summit in June 2021, a commitment was made by both sides “to work towards an Administrative Arrangement, with discussions, including on modalities and conditions for a closer and mutually beneficial cooperation, beginning as soon as possible.” So far, EDA has concluded AA with four non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Ukraine) as well as two organisations (OCCAR, European Space Agency). 

The Steering Board also approved a document laying down the revised and updated principles for EDA cooperation with third parties.   

2022 Budget 

Ministers adopted the proposal made by the Head of the Agency, setting the EDA’s 2022 general budget at €38 million (compared to €37.5 in 2021). The budget reflects the continuous high demands on the Agency to support Member States in the development of defence capabilities as well as the implementation of EU defence initiatives such as CARD, the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). 

Three-Year Planning Framework  

Ministers approved EDA’s Three-Year Planning Framework 2022-2024 (together with its staff establishment plan) which provides a coherent and comprehensive overview of the Agency’s activities structured around the three chapters reflecting its core taskings: - prioritising and planning defence cooperation; - supporting technology and capability development; - facilitating the interface with wider EU policies. Each chapter of the Planning Framework elaborates on key activities which EDA is undertaking, providing an overview of the nature, scope and expected impact of the Agency’s activities in support of overarching policy objectives and the added value for Member States.  

Military Mobility technical arrangements signed 

In the margins of the Steering Board meeting, Ministers signed two so-called ‘Technical Arrangements on Cross-Border Movement Permission’ to improve Military Mobility in Europe.  

“With today’s signing of the two technical arrangements, a huge step forward has been made to improve Military Mobility in Europe”, commented EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý.  At the occasion of the signature ceremony, Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder said: “Belgium is one of Europe’s main entrance points and therefore plays an important role as a transit country for military mobility. As part of its global approach, Belgium would like to join a structured cooperation aimed at harmonising and simplifying the procedures for Armed Forces’ rapid deployment in Europe”. 

Initiated by the European Action Plan on Military Mobility, these two technical arrangements - covering air and surface movements respectively - have been prepared under EDA auspices since 2018, involving all EU Member States as well as Norway. The arrangements focus on providing permission for air and surface movements, including the transport of dangerous goods. Using annual permissions through a simplified and standardised process based on harmonised data, Member States will be able to provide movement permission within five working days. The technical arrangements will also allow participant countries to reduce their administrative burden and use staff resources in the most efficient way.  

A total of 23 Member States and Norway signed the surface arrangement, while 22 and Norway signed the air arrangement. The signing kicks off their practical implementation: the signatories will now assess possible activities at national level to make optimal use of these arrangements.  


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BISON COUNTER live exercise wrapped up ​

Fri, 05/11/2021 - 13:11

BISON COUNTER 21, the EDA-supported multinational Counter-IED exercise hosted this year by the Italian Armed Forces in Sardinia, has entered its final stretch with the live exercise drawing to a close today. The event will formally come to an end on 9 November with a Distinguished Visitors Day. Over the past three weeks, Counter-IED teams - in total some 650 staff - from 10 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden), as well as Norway and the United States participated in what is today the largest and most relevant EU exercise of the C-IED community.

The live part of the exercise saw a wide range of multinational expert teams plan, decide and perform all types of C-IED activities on the ground, based on a fictive but realistic exercise scenario featuring all the ingredients and challenges any national or multinational military operation (EU, NATO, UN, etc.) faces today under real circumstances. All C-IED aspects were involved and represented, from planning in joint task force headquarters , military search, route clearance and weapons intelligence, to combat engineering, Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (EOD/IEDD), manual neutralisation techniques and technical exploitation. They were all organised inside one specific multinational C-IED taskforce.

Even though it is too early to draw final operational conclusions from BISON COUNTER 21 - this important part of the exercise will be tackled only in the coming days and weeks - the overall initial assessment of the achievements is more than positive. In other words: BISON COUNTER 21 has clearly delivered on its main objectives which were to exchange and train technical skills, integrate and use available technical enablers at a tactical level and implement the full C-IED operational cycle with a view to improving interoperability and resilience among European and allied C-IED capabilities in their fight against evolving IED threats, both in military and counter-terrorism operations.  

“We were happy and proud to act as the host nation of this important exercise for the entire European military community. I think we were successful in delivering a realistic scenario in the way we structured and organised the exercise and in the manner we used the multiple military areas available in Southern Sardinia. We are confident that the lessons we will identify from Bison Counter 21 will be useful in planning and conducting future similar events”, said General Filippo Gabriele, the Italian officer directing the exercise.

EDA to play a leading role in future exercises

As it was the case in previous editions of the exercise (2013 in the Netherlands, 2016 in Sweden), EDA was closely involved in the organisation and running of BISON COUNTER 21 which had integrated several Agency projects such as the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory (JDEAL), the European Centre for Manual Neutralisation Capabilities (ECMAN) and the Military Search Capability Building (MSCB).

Going forward, EDA’s role will be even bigger as it is the Agency’s ambition to pursue the series of Bison Counter exercises beyond the 2021 edition in a more structured, comprehensive and coherent manner. An important step in that direction will be the launch, early 2022 by 13 Member States, of a new EDA project (Cat B) which foresees at least three additional editions of Bison Counter in 2023, 2025 and 2027. The project will also establish a permanent expert team in charge of the planning of the exercises and its subsidiary activities, both at the conceptual and technical level. This means that the joint planning and organisation of future BISON COUNTER exercises will become more centralised and structured under EDA’s auspices in close cooperation, of course, with the future host countries. As a result, this should further enhance the coordination and coherence among all participating C-IED actors at all different levels, from strategy to tactics to operations. Such a more structured approach should also help to better analyse the exercise results and implement a consolidated lessons learned cycle which is essential for moving towards even more sophisticated and interoperable C-IED capabilities in Europe.

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New REACH work roadmap adopted

Fri, 29/10/2021 - 12:41

EDA Member States have agreed on a new work roadmap for the coming years (2021-2023) that will guide the Agency’s efforts to mitigate the implications of the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) on the defence sector.

With the previous roadmap 2018-2020 successfully accomplished (some activities are in the final stages of implementation or scheduled to be continued in the future), the participating members of EDA’s REACH project - all Member States plus Norway - have now elaborated a new comprehensive EDA Roadmap 2021–2023 for REACH and related EU Chemicals/Waste Regulations that was recently endorsed by the Agency’s Steering Board.

The new roadmap foresees two different categories of activities:

  • generic activities and tasks, which are conducted in a continuous manner, including administrative tasks, interaction, and monitoring/coordinating activities with stakeholders; and
  • specific activities and tasks, which have a specific scope/duration and are therefore prioritised with respect to the sequence of implementation, including activities related to the Commission REACH Revision 2022, EDA’s Codes of Conduct on REACH and Classification, Labelling, and Packaging (CLP) Defence Exemptions, the EDA Member States’ Common Position on Ammunition Classification under REACH and specific proposals stemming from the 2020 EDA Study on the Impact (other than REACH and CLP) EU Chemicals/Waste Regulations on the Defence Sector.

Since the adoption of the roadmap, EDA has disseminated it as widely as possible to relevant stakeholders and continues to work closely with Member States’ REACH experts (including the EDA REACH Task Force at the technical level), the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency ECHA and the defence industry to advance in its practical implementation. 

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7th EDA Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course completed

Fri, 29/10/2021 - 09:35

EDA’s 7th Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC), which ran over seven weeks at Airbase No1 in Sintra (Portugal) and Pápa Air Base in Hungary, was successfully completed last week.

The course began on 30th of August with a four-week classroom phase, which included simulator training at Airbase No1 in Sintra, followed by a tree-week deployment to the Pápa Air Base in Hungary where participants engaged in live flying exercises.  Supported by personnel from the Hungarian Defence Force and Pápa Air Base, the flying phase included a complex operational scenario employing dissimilar formation flying, evasion training against a range of airborne threats, Electronic Warfare (EW) against both ground-based and airborne systems and a variety of additional tasks such as Helicopter Assault, Convoy Escort and Mutual Support. The course was led by EDA’s HTIC chief instructor team and followed by Austrian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Portuguese and Swedish crews flying on six different types of helicopters: AW-109, EH-101, H145M, Mi-171, OH-58 and UH-60.

The staff instructors came from Austria, Germany and Sweden, together with some contracted support provided by Inzpire Ltd. Also, fixed wing support was provided by units of the Czech Alca Jets and the Hungarians Gripens, acting mainly as threats during the helicopter training. In addition, EW assets and personnel were provided by Austria and Hungary.

In total, 18 Bronze, 7 Silver and 3 Gold qualifications were awarded ensuring an important contribution to the international cadre of Helicopter Tactics Instructors (HTI).


The Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) is an advanced helicopter training activity aimed at creating helicopter tactics instructors which are enable train nationally standardised tactics procedures to foster interoperability of the European helicopter units, their level of preparation, and to facilitate readiness for future deployments. This is done independently of the type of helicopter used. It is delivered since 2013. Since 2021, its location changed to Airbase No1 in Sintra (Portugal), where the ground and simulator of the course is executed, and to Pápa Air Base (Hungary), where the flying phase is delivered.

HTIC provides aircrew from participating nations with the skills and knowledge to teach advanced tactics to front-line aircrews from within their own national organisations and to assist in delivering the EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and future HTIC. Successful graduates from the course are awarded a qualification recognised by other Member States.  HTIC development courses run over two years: in the first year, prospective instructors refine their own knowledge of advanced helicopter tactics to the maximum degree. In the second year, the emphasis shifts to develop the participants’ ability to teach those tactics. In turn, Instructors who have demonstrated excellent abilities in delivering the course will be individually selected to come back a third time and teach alongside the existing instructional staff to finally achieve their Gold instructor qualification to become supervising instructors for future HTIC and/or components of the HTIC Chief Instructor Team.

The three main elements of HTIC include Evasion Training, Electronic Warfare and advanced Operations.  They are initially taught as stand-alone skills before being brought together in a complex, non-permissive environment in the framework of the planning and execution of Composite Air Operations (COMAO).

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BISON COUNTER 21 live C-IED exercise kicks off in Sardinia

Thu, 28/10/2021 - 13:25

BISON COUNTER, the periodic EDA-supported multinational live exercise bringing together Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) teams from Europe and the US, kicked off today in Sardinia, Italy, with some 650 staff participating. The exercise’s objectives are to exchange and train technical skills, integrate and use available technical enablers at a tactical level and implement the full C-IED operational cycle with a view to improving interoperability and resilience among European and allied C-IED capabilities in their fight against evolving IED threats, both in military and counter-terrorism operations. 

BISON COUNTER is today the largest and most relevant EU exercise of the C-IED community. After 2013 (The Netherlands) and 2016 (Sweden), it is the third time this exercise is organised under the auspices of EDA. A total of 650 military staff from 10 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden), as well as Norway and the United States participate in this year’s event hosted by the Italian Armed Forces.

As in previous editions, EDA is closely involved in the organisation and running of BISON COUNTER 21 which integrates EDA projects such as the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory (JDEAL), the European Centre for Manual Neutralisation Capabilities (ECMAN) and the Military Search Capability Building (MSCB). It can also count on the support of NATO’s C-IED Centre of Excellence.

BISON COUNTER 21 gathers dedicated teams specialised in the following enabler capabilities:

  • Military Search
  • Military Working Dogs
  • Combat Engineering
  • Route Clearance
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (EOD/IEDD)
  • EOD Divers
  • EOD Manual Neutralization Techniques (MNT) Teams
  • Weapons Intelligence Teams (WIT)
  • Level 2 Technical Exploitation, fully manned and operational Laboratory
  • Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters.

The aim is to develop common processes, techniques, procedures and interoperability requirements. Lessons learned from previous BISON COUNTER editions will also be raised and included in the operational part. In the same vein, the exercise will also serve as an experimentation and testing ground for IED related assets, equipment and technologies.

Exercise scenario

As one of the key objectives is to increase responsiveness and operational readiness for EU crises management, the exercise scenario is built up on a Crisis Management Operation (CMO) and spread around different locations in order to meet the specific requirements of the different technical domains. The geographical dispersion also allows to replicate the real-life challenges that operations have to face in terms of Command and Control and Reporting, the handling and transportation of evidence collected from IED incidents, as well as their exploitation.

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OCEAN 2020 and VESTLIFE projects successfully closed ​

Wed, 27/10/2021 - 16:08

Two major collaborative defence research (R&T) projects, launched under the European Commission’s Preparatory Acton on Defence Research (PADR) and implemented by the European Defence Agency (EDA), came to a close end of October. The results of both projects - OCEAN 2020 and VESTLIFE – will contribute significantly to enhancing European Member States’ defence capabilities in two important domains: maritime situational awareness and soldier protection.

OCEAN 2020

The OCEAN 2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess) project, launched in 2018 and co-funded by the EU with €35.48 million, achieved its main objective which was to demonstrate enhanced situational awareness in a maritime environment through the integration of legacy and new technologies for unmanned systems, ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance) payloads and effectors, by pulling together the technical specialists in the maritime domain covering the ‘observing, orienting, deciding and acting’ operational tasks.  As the biggest of all PADR projects with no less than 43 entities from 15 European countries involved, OCEAN 2020 also successfully addressed the problems of integrating EU systems and individual organisations into a coherent framework to increase cost effectiveness and interoperability for joint missions. The variety of assets involved in the project highlighted how a global integration of multi-domain unmanned systems in an operational task force can provide a force multiplier.

The project implementation culminated in two major demonstrations in the Mediterranean (November 2019) and Baltic seas (2021). All in all, the OCEAN 2020 confirmed the EU’s ability to lead innovation in support of Europe’s strategic autonomy in the maritime domain.

Information on the OCEAN 2020 consortium (led by Leonardo) and its 43 members can be found on the dedicated OCEAN2020 website.


The second project now accomplished, called VESTLIFE, was signed in April 2018 and granted an EU grant of €2.43 million to develop an ultralight modular bullet proof integral solution for dismounted soldier protection, including a CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear) detection system. The new protective gear provides an increased coverage area whilst maintaining comfort, plus a weight reduction of the ballistic panels. It therefore ensures an optimum balance between protection and comfort, tailoring such a protective surface to the forecasted mission risk. The protection system developed in this project consists of soft panels and hard plates.



The VESTLIFE consortium Led by AITEX (Spain), also encompassed 5 other participants from 5 countries: CITEVE (Portugal), Brapa Consultancy (the Netherlands), TECNALIA (Spain), Petroceramics (Italy) and FYComposites (Finland).


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Additive Manufacturing’s impact on military logistics yet to be fully embraced conference hears

Tue, 19/10/2021 - 15:04

Additive Manufacturing (AM) – commonly known as 3D-Printing – has been identified as a technology that could significantly reduce the logistic footprint of armed forces deployed on missions. As part of its work to enhance the use of AM in the armed forces, EDA supported the first European Military Additive Manufacturing Symposium which took place in Bonn, Germany on 12-13 October. The conference heard that AM offers unique opportunities for the armed forces especially in logistic support, but its advantages are yet to be fully embraced within the military and faces several hurdles impeding fuller implementation in defence.

In his keynote speech to the 2-day event, EDA Deputy Chief Executive, Olli Ruutu spoke on how EDA supports its Member States in their efforts to employ AM by sustaining newest technical developments and the necessary elaboration of common standards to enhance interoperability.

“AM technologies can be highly promising for enhancing defence capabilities such Logistic Support for Deployed Forces in remote or hostile environments. Having AM technologies in the area of operation might significantly impact the course of CSDP missions. Time between failure and restoring the availability of platforms, transportation and storage of significant quantities of spares can be decreased, reducing the logistic footprint of an operation” Mr. Ruutu said. 

He also pointed to the important transfer of EDA’s work on AM from research and technology to capability development.


Additive Manufacturing for Logistic Support (AMLS)

Building on the results of its 2018 R&T project on AM, a new project, Additive Manufacturing for Logistic Support (AMLS) was launched by EDA within the area of Capability Development. Eight areas of activities were identified for this project, including technology aspects, training and education, as well as procurement processes. The ultimate objective is to elaborate and determine solutions in the eight areas which will foster the cooperation and enhance the interoperability among participants. 

A dedicated panel on Best Practice, moderated by EDA, addressed some of the practicalities and hurdles for the AMLS project to overcome. The panel underscored the distinction that AM is not a capability shortfall but an important skill which has the potential to reduce the logistics footprint. Two EDA supported R&T projects were also presented in this panel, which are aiming to enhance the performances of ballistic protections and energic material development for AM respectively. 

Emergence of Circular Economy and AM  A second panel discussion also moderated by EDA, discussed the emergence of AM as one of the key contributors to the circular economy. The event heard how AM is a means to intensify the use of materials and expand systems’ lifetime by providing on-demand solutions for repair, remanufacturing and recycling. The panel also pointed to EDA’s new Incubation Forum on Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED) to create common initiatives to make the most of AM’s potential for circularity: both technical and logistics aspects will be addressed in the next two years.   A first European AM Symposium

The conference was organed by the German Association for Defence Technology (DWT) and supported by EDA. Attended by over 160 representatives of industry, armed forces, academia and institutions, the event offered a unique European overview on the rapid development of AM in industry and opportunities on offer for military.




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EDA and ESA deepen cooperation on cyber resilience

Thu, 14/10/2021 - 17:15

The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) today agreed to further deepen their already close cooperation in the cyber domain. The objective of the enhanced cooperation, approved today through an Exchange of Letter between EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý and ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher, is to further expand the cyber resilience cooperation between the two organisations.

EDA and ESA have established a close working relationship on the basis of the Administrative Agreement signed in June 2011 which covers important domains of mutual interest, such as space-based Earth observation, unmanned vehicles, whether on sea or air, critical technologies for non-dependence, CBRNe, Guidance, Navigation and Control, and cyber resilience. In 2016, EDA and ESA signed an Implementing Arrangement on their cooperation for the Cyber Defence for Space Project. In the field of capability research and development, ESA and EDA are jointly investing in the Space and Cyber Defence Joint Study, now concentrating on Cyber Threat Intelligence, and cooperating on an ESA-led Cyber security and space-based services study, which involves other key actors such as the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Eurocontrol and the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA). In December 2020, the Joint ESA-EDA Cyber Resilience Task Force was tasked to explore new and further areas of relevance and potential cooperation or coordination. ESA is also an observer in EDA’s Cyber Ranges Federation Programme Arrangement Management Committee (PAMC).

New level of cyber cooperation

As cyber threats are constantly growing in numbers and sophistication, cyber resilience is essential to EDA and ESA stakeholders alike. Cyber-attacks can target individuals, companies and public institutions or services (e.g. energy grids, financial markets, unmanned vehicles etc.), but also democracies namely though hybrid threats. Space systems being a central link in this new intertwined security continuum, the information and data collected, managed and exchanged by ESA and EDA Member States are of critical value to Europe’s security.

Hence the need for EDA and ESA, acknowledged in today’s Exchange of Letters, to cooperate even closer to improve the cyber-resilience of space systems, notably by:

  • sharing relevant policy and technical elements to shape and orient respective activities and strengthen the partnership;
  • having EDA to act as a facilitator between ESA and EDA communities while ESA proposes to invite EDA to all Council or Sub-Committee meetings of relevance under this partnership;
  • regularly updating the list of priority cooperative avenues to be further explored, exploited and implemented. The Joint ESA-EDA cyber resilience task force will also issue a yearly implementation report;
  • exploring how EDA and ESA could expand their coordinated and cooperative approach to other key cyber security actors such as, the European Commission, the External Action Service, and namely its Space Task Force, ENISA, the European Security and Defence College, the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network, the Hybrid Fusion Cell and Hybrid Centre of Excellence, or the EU Satellite Centre.

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý said: “Space and cyber defence are intrinsically linked. Therefore, it is only natural that the European Space Agency and the European Defence Agency work closely together to strengthen their respective Member States’ cyber resilience and, subsequently, Europe’s security. The new enhanced cooperation launched by today’s Exchange of Letters is another practical step towards achieving this important common goal”.  

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said: “In today’s world, space creates and relays critical data, which we need to protect. We are now facing an ever increasing dependence on space infrastructure and services, and this dependence increases the impact of these being disrupted, even from natural occurrences. This is the very reason why ESA is committed to securing its space assets as well as those of its Member States and partners from cyber interference. In doing so, we also strive to build cooperation avenues with our partners, and one such longstanding partner in cyber resilience has been EDA. »

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