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Exercise Green Blade is under way

EDA News - Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:36

Around 550 personnel and 15 helicopters arrived at Kleine-Brogel Air Base on Monday 17 September to participate in the joint and combined helicopter training and Special Forces exercise Green Blade/Pegasus. Green Blade is the fifth helicopter training exercise in a row organised since 2009 by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) of the European Defence Agency (EDA), while Pegasus is a biennial Belgian exercise for Special Forces. Combining both exercises into one not only offers excellent added training opportunities for both helicopter crews and Special Forces, but also has a cost-reducing effect.

By training together and exchanging ideas, the different Belgian, German and Italian helicopter crews and their support personnel develop common best practices and mutually improve their interoperability. The same goes for the participating Special Forces from Belgium, Italy and Spain. Additionally, the joint training of aircrews and Special Forces means that both groups of specialists are better prepared to work together in future operations.

On arrivals day, all personnel received a place to work and a bed to sleep, and went through a series of mandatory safety and security briefings. Safety in general and flight safety in particular are among the major concerns of the exercise direction as well as of the host nation, as was stressed once more by their representatives in their welcoming speech on the first evening.

The first week of the exercise is fully dedicated to what is called Combat Enhancement Training/Force Integration Training (CET/FIT) in military terminology. In short, it is a phase preceding the actual exercise during which the participants familiarise themselves with the exercise area and the equipment and procedures of their colleagues.

Tuesday 18 September was mainly spent on familiarisation briefings and flights. Members of the participating Special Forces became acquainted with the general characteristics and performances of the different types of helicopters present as well as with the procedures for safe boarding and disembarking. Belgian helicopter crews showed their German and Italian colleagues around in the area of operations for Exercise Green Blade/Pegasus during a pinpoint navigation over the provinces of Antwerp, Liège, Limburg and Namur. During these flights, Belgian pilots made their guests familiar not only with the local landscape and its landmarks, but also with particularities of the Belgian airspace, local flight rules and exercise specific operating procedures.

The images and the video below show the arrival of the helicopters, and the initial familiarization flights. More updates from the exercise will be posted throughout the next fortnight.

To learn more about Exercise Green Blade, see the press release here.


European Defence Agency calls for concerted action for future air systems

EDA News - Mon, 09/17/2012 - 12:44

Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), today highlighted the need for urgent action on European cooperation in the area of future air systems (FAS) during a conference at ILA Berlin.

The Agency is already supporting a wide range of projects in the air domain fostering cooperation among Member States. However, new results from a recent EDA study suggest that while the air defense industry is still healthy, important industrial capabilities are eroding. Without additional concerted action, the situation will soon become critical, for example for the development of future combat aircraft (manned and unmanned) and attack helicopters.

Military aviation is paramount in enabling EU Member States to meet their national security and defence requirements. Additionally, the industry has long been a driver for innovation, producing cutting edge technology that contributes to wider economic growth in Europe. Around 200,000 people in high-tech jobs are currently directly employed in the sector. It comprises important system integrators and a dynamic and innovative supply chain rich in SMEs. The industry generates an annual turnover of approximately 45 billion euro[1]. This technically advanced sector is a key supporting component of strong European military capabilities. Recent EDA-sponsored work has shown that Europe risks losing significant industrial know-how between now and 2020. This includes the ability to produce advanced combat aircraft. Moreover, Europe risks falling significantly behind the global competition in UAS capabilities.

“Europe has successfully managed to join forces in two fields closely related to military aviation: space and civil aviation. If we want a similarly strong and independent aeronautics defence sector, we have to set the course now”, said Claude-France Arnould during the EDA Future Air Systems Conference at ILA Berlin.

EDA: Fostering aerial cooperation

With budgets under pressure and joint operations more and more common, the EDA is playing a key role in pooling and sharing vital defence capabilities in Europe. Notably in the area of air operations, a number of successful projects are being conducted:

  • EDA’s air-to-air refuelling initiative is supporting Member States in developing interoperable European solutions to overcome current shortfalls, and propose options for future requirements in this respect.
  • Bringing together air crews from across Europe to train and qualify together in airlift disciplines is the aim of the European air transport training. The first training event was held successfully in Zaragoza, Spain in June this year. More exercises will follow in 2013.
  • To date, military airworthiness activities have been conducted and regulated on a national basis. This generates many problems in multinational programmes and is a primary cause for delay and additional cost. The EDA is a key actor in working towards an EU-wide harmonisation and unification strategy on military airworthiness which will make the process more efficient and will help to reduce costs.
  • The EDA’s Helicopter Training Programme provides a framework to Member States to allow them to develop, consolidate and share best practices to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in the modern operational environment. EDA has to date delivered four exercises: one in Gap, France, one in Logrono, Spain, one in Viterbo, Italy and one near Porto, Portugal. A fifth one, Green Blade 2012, will be held in Belgium at the end of September. These exercises have met an urgent training requirement for the participating Member States, greatly enhancing the helicopter capacity available. They are complemented by the EDA’s three-week Helicopter Tactics Course, ten being held in 2012.
  • The Agency has worked on Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) issues since its inception, and in 2007 it received an explicit directive from European defence ministers to examine the challenges to UAS air traffic insertion. Apart from facilitating concrete projects (e.g. Midair Collision Avoidance project (MIDCAS)) and funding studies (e.g. Study on military spectrum requirements for the insertion of UAS into general air traffic (SIGAT)), the EDA cooperates with European and international organisations to move forward technical, regulatory and standardisation issues.

“FAS4Europe” study: how to safeguard the future of the military aviation industry

Almost 30 industrial entities, representing a significant proportion of Europe’s military aviation industry, were involved in the twelve month FAS4Europe study under the leadership of Saab AB. Its aim was to analyse the current state of the European air defence industry, to identify the sector’s strengths and weaknesses and to provide a roadmap and implementation plan.

The main result of the study is that the European military aeronautical industry is now losing capabilities. The situation for future air systems is severe, with some important industrial capabilities and technologies already at risk. The study highlights that an opportunity exists to break the current trend of erosion. However, it requires the launch of actions based on a common and coordinated plan.

The EDA study thus sets out a roadmap of projects and demonstrator programmes. This roadmap includes proposals to work on:

  • Technologies for advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance UAS;
  • Increasing air system survivability against future threats (rotary and fixed wing); and,

  • Improving the lifecycle affordability of military aircraft (rotary and fixed wing).

Additionally, the study highlights the potential to link civil-military research and development to exploit synergies within the civil aerospace market. Finally, it strongly suggests co-operative European aerospace development programmes to avoid further fragmentation.

Agency position

The EDA will address the issue of a common European approach with stakeholders and will raise it at Board level. “What is in question today is Europe’s future ability to design and develop advanced new military aircraft. The Agency aims to make a strong case for strategic European cooperation for future air systems”, concluded Claude-France Arnould in Berlin.

Image credits: EADS/Cassidian

[1] ASD, Facts and Figures, 2010

New report highlights importance of defence cooperation

EDA News - Mon, 07/30/2012 - 13:54
A new report from the European Economic and Social Committee has called for closer European defence cooperation, calling the arguments in its favour "overwhelming", and asking for a “radical” change of mindset.

D-FUSE workshop

EDA News - Wed, 04/04/2012 - 17:00

The consortium in charge of D-FUSE (Data Fusion in Urban Sensor Networks) organised a dissemination workshop on 6-7 March 2012, at Delft, in the Netherlands. This event was be based on demonstrations to illustrate the innovations achieved during the first two years of the project.

The details of the programme may be found here. Posters are available here:

D-FUSE is an R&T Project contracted by the EDA on behalf of Member States contributing to the Joint Investment Program on Force Protection.

Successful completion of first European Personnel Recovery Course in Sweden

EDA News - Fri, 03/18/2011 - 10:37

The Swedish Armed Forces invited EDA participating Member States as well as other countries to the first European Personnel Recovery Operations and Plans Course in Karlsborg, 7-18 March 2011. Course participants came from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. In addition to the Swedish instructors, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States additionally sent observers and instructors to Karlsborg.

The intensive two-week course aimed at enabling participants to prepare, plan and execute Personnel Recovery Operations. “This course is indeed very helpful for our operational planning. The instructors are very experienced and motivated”, said course participant First Lieutenant Jos Tijs from the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Major Tor Cavalli-Björkman, a Swedish Instructor, is convinced: “We all benefit tremendously from this international information exchange. I would like to stress that this initiative will increase the number of trained personnel available to support on-going operations as well as EU Battle Group.”

The initiative to standardise Personnel Recovery training emerged from the Project Team Personnel Recovery in the European Defence Agency (EDA) at the end of November 2010. Jon Mullin, Capabilities Director at EDA, stated: “I am most grateful that Sweden agreed to offer the first EU opportunity of this kind and hosted it so successfully at its Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School. This initiative will significantly boost Personnel Recovery capabilities in Europe.”

A Belgian officer said “The course could not come at a better time, given the obvious requirements we have witnessed in the press regarding the events in North Africa during the past few weeks.”

Personnel Recovery is aimed at mitigating and reacting to the risk of isolation, capture and exploitation of military or civilian personnel during a Crisis Management Operation (CMO). The Personnel Recovery Course, envisaged to be held regularly by various host nations, is one of several results of the respective Project Team at EDA. Other initiatives include a Personnel Recovery Concept, a personnel registration tool and the preparation of joint procurement of Personnel Recovery Equipment in the future.

The European Defence Agency was established in 2004 to support the participating Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as well as pooling efforts and resources in the development of transformed, interoperable and cost-effective armed forces.

Visit of Mr. William J. Lynn, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense, to EDA

EDA News - Tue, 01/25/2011 - 18:45

Mr. William J. Lynn, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense, with Ms. Claude-France Arnould, EDA's Chief Executive, upon arrival, at the Agency.


Mr. Lynn (below, on the right), and Mr. William E. Kennard, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU (at his side), meeting the European Defence Agency Management Board.


Visit of the EU Military Committee to EDA

EDA News - Tue, 01/25/2011 - 14:48
Visit of the EU Military Committee to EDA

Carlo Magrassi's speech at Defensys

EDA News - Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:24
On 29 October, Carlo Magrassi, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive Strategies, delivered a speech at Defensys'10.

Keynote Address by Adam Sowa at ACT Industry Day, 5-6 October, Prague

EDA News - Wed, 10/06/2010 - 14:41
Keynote Address by Adam Sowa, Deputy Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, at the ACT Industry Day, 5-6 October, Prague.

EDA holds a Biological Equipment Development and Enhancement Programme symposium in Paris

EDA News - Mon, 05/10/2010 - 00:00
EDA held a Biological Equipment Development and Enhancement Programme symposium, hosted by the French Ministry of Defence, from 10 – 11 May 2010 in the Military School, Paris, France.

Wise Pen Team report on Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR)

EDA News - Mon, 04/26/2010 - 00:00
Wise Pen Team report on Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR)

Visit EDA's stand at the Festival of Europe

EDA News - Fri, 04/23/2010 - 00:00
EDA will be present at the Festival of Europe, on Saturday 8 May 2010.

Alexander Weis delivered a speech at the “Défense et Stratégie” Conference on “L’Europe puissance navale”

EDA News - Wed, 12/16/2009 - 00:00
EDA’s Chief Executive, Alexander Weis, delivered a speech at the “Défense et Stratégie” Conference on “L’Europe puissance navale”. During the third roundtable, dedicated to a powerful industry as a condition for a European naval power, Alexander Weis has expressed EDA’s views on the naval European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, underlining the efforts needed in this domain.

EDA announces the conclusion of Project STAMP

EDA News - Fri, 11/27/2009 - 00:00
EDA announces the conclusion of Project STAMP

“Guidelines for facilitating SMEs’ access to the defence market” agreed by EDA’s participating Member States

EDA News - Wed, 10/21/2009 - 00:00
On 9 October 2009, the EDA Steering Board in National Armaments Directors formation approved “Guidelines for facilitating SMEs’ access to the defence market”.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden launch world leading technology on the MID-air Collision Avoidance System (MIDCAS) at the Paris Air Show

EDA News - Wed, 06/17/2009 - 00:00
The European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Member States France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden (as lead nation) have signed a Project Arrangement on the MID-air Collision Avoidance System (MIDCAS) at the Paris Air Show on 17 June 2009

EDA Signed a Contract on Studies for Integrated Multifunction Compact Lightweight Airborne Radars and Systems

EDA News - Mon, 04/06/2009 - 00:00
The European Defence Agency (EDA) signed the contract on the Studies for Integrated Multifunction Compact Lightweight Airborne Radars and Systems (SIMCLAIRS) on 31 March 2009, an ad-hoc category B project, with a consortium consisting of national industrial companies from three EDA participating Member States: France, Sweden and United Kingdom. The consortium consists of four European companies, all of which have already been successfully involved in past and present airborne radar and equipment development in Europe

EU Governments Endorse Capability Plan for Future Military Needs, Pledge Joint Efforts

EDA News - Tue, 07/08/2008 - 00:00
European Union governments today endorsed a Capability Development Plan (CDP) defining the future military needs and priorities of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and agreed to use it to guide future national defence investment decisions and to seek opportunities to collaborate so as to address their short-to-longer-term military requirements coherently

EDA Chief Executive Alexander Weis Outlines EDA Agenda at a Colloquium in Helsinki

EDA News - Tue, 05/06/2008 - 00:00
In the simplest terms, EDA is the “back office” for the European Security and Defence Policy – ESDP. Its task is to improve the military capabilities needed to carry out ESDP operations

EDA welcomes Commission Communication on EU Defence Industry and Market

EDA News - Wed, 12/05/2007 - 00:00
The European Defence Agency welcomes the efforts of the European Commission to further support the development of a true European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM). The Defence Package published today is complementary to the Agency’s own agenda for creating a more effective EDEM and a stronger European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).


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