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Updated: 13 hours 30 min ago

Energy Defence Consultation Forum gains momentum

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 13:00

More than 200 experts from 30 European countries and more than 20 different institutions and organisations participate in the 2nd 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 (16-17 June), held under the auspices of the Portuguese EU Presidency and hosted by the Portuguese National Ministry of Defence, takes stock of the progress made so far in Phase III in supporting EU Member States’ Ministries of Defence and partners to move towards green, resilient, and efficient energy models. It also showcases how the Forum contributes to the EU's efforts in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Efforts to address energy-related and climate change issues and their impact on defence are gaining strong momentum in the EU with the implementation of the European Green Deal. The Consultation Forum, the largest European defence energy community, is contributing substantially to implementing the Climate Change and Defence Roadmap, the first-ever EU's action plan to address the links between defence and climate change.

Political momentum in advancing sustainable and resilient defence

The conference was opened with speeches by João Gomes Cravinho, Minister of National Defence of Portugal, and Jiří Šedivý, EDA's Chief Executive. Paula Pinho, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, gave a keynote speech. 

Minister Cravinho highlighted that “the climate-defence nexus has become a key strategic priority for multilateral cooperation within the EU and NATO”. “This has been made clear in the effort to revise and update the guidelines of both organisations via the Strategic Compass, in the EU, and the NATO 2030 initiative. Both documents are giving great relevance to the connection between climate and security. As we upgrade our defence systems and strategies to a new security context, adaptation to climate change will certainly assume a central role in technological development for defence. This will also contribute significantly to more resilient societies – a growing and wise demand of European public opinion”, the Minister said.  

In his speech, Mr Šedivý said the conference demonstrated once again "the Member States' utmost interest in strengthening the EU's technology sovereignty and ensuring its transition to climate-neutrality by 2050". The recently approved European Defence Fund (EDF) will give an additional boost to this important endeavour, as it is expected to encompass “concrete actions for addressing defence energy and climate-related topics, further reinforcing the national defence efforts in these vital fields”, he stressed. EDA and the European Commission are currently exploring to initiate one of the first actions under Horizon Europe to enable the development of offshore renewable energy projects in maritime areas reserved for defence activities or used by defence. This is just one example that reflects the EU's increased interest at the highest level to support the EU Member States in moving towards a more circular, sustainable and resilient defence sector. In that context, "the work of the Energy Consultation Forum is essential in addressing the wider links between defence and climate, providing at the same time a prime platform for fostering synergies between defence and energy communities as well as industries and research and technology organisations", Mr Šedivý said.

In her speech, Commission Director Pinho underlined the importance of the European Green Deal as the EU sustainable growth strategy underpinned by a just transition. She recalled that the Fit for 55 package to be adopted by the Commission on 14 July 2021 represents “one of the most ambitious policy overhauls in recent EU history. Offering us a way to tackle climate change, to put in place the clean energy transition and providing crucial opportunities for the recovery while leaving no one behind.” Ms Pinho stressed the importance of a stronger energy efficiency target, the continuous exemplary role of the public sector, the importance of energy audits and energy management systems, and the need to provide a legal basis for the ‘Energy Efficiency First Principle’. On both energy efficiency and renewable energy, Ms Pinho underlined that both targets as set in the Climate Target Plan - namely between 38-40% and 37 % respectively, are attainable. Moreover, “We have the political will, the technological expertise and the EU funds, including from the Recovery and Resilience facility, to make it happen.” She concluded by recalling the growing engagement of the EU in the defence sector, where CF SEDSS is one of the most advanced actions.

Next conference in 2021

The 3rd CF SEDSS III conference is scheduled to take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 23-24 November 2021 under the auspices of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and hosted by the Slovenian Ministry of Defence.

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.

More information:

 


Exercise HOT BLADE 2021 kicks off in Portugal

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 12:22

HOT BLADE 2021, the 15th helicopter exercise organised under the umbrella of the European Defence Agency’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), will kick off tomorrow (16 June) at Beja airbase in Portugal. It will last until 30 June. 

A total of 23 air assets (15 helicopters + 8 fixed wing) and some 550 military personnel from five countries – Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Portugal – will participate in this exercise hosted by the Portuguese Air Force. In addition, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and several international organisations will send exercise observers. 

The exercise’s main focus will be to allow crews to practice operations in various environments during day and night sorties, replicating the challenging conditions that participant forces are expected to encounter when deploying to different theatres of operation.  

Objectives

The main objectives of HOT BLADE 2021 are to: 

  • enhance tactical interoperability between helicopter units from the participating countries by using the COMAO concept in a combined, joint, realistic and challenging environment and to learn and practice common helicopter Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs). The focus will be on COMAO with live firing and trooping; 
  • train and practise TTPs with and against fighter jets and electronic warfare threats on the ground; 
  • improve interoperability in training and operational tasks with ground forces involvement (night vision goggles operations, low level flying, formation flights, forward arming and refueling point training, gunnery, etc…) in a live/simulated, full spectrum environment.  
Programme 

Participating crews will fly diverse day and night COMAO missions and execute, among others, Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC).  

They will also train special procedures like marshalling procedures, fast rope and abseiling techniques, Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE), and air-to-surface live firing (helicopter door gunnery and sniper training). 

HOT BLADE 2021 will also provide opportunities to practice multinational and national formation and training with the Special Operations Forces (SOF) units (infiltration and exfiltration) and enhance crews’ skills in using the HEP Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and COMAO planning procedures in the conduct of flight planning and operations. 

Eight instructors from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden trained in EDA’s Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) accompanied by an instructor from the Netherlands trained on the Dutch Helicopter Weapons Instructor (HWI) course will jointly form the HOT BLADE 2021 Mentor Team, ready to support the multinational crews in preparation and execution of the challenging COMAO missions. EDA’s Chief Instructor (CI) Team will manage and supervise the rest of the components of the Mentor Team to ensure consistency and the best possible uptake of previous lessons learned in other programmes and during deployment. 

Distinguished Visitors Day 

A Distinguished Visitors Day (DVD) is planned for 24 June 2021 when representatives from EDA participating Member States as well as Switzerland and Serbia will attend and observe various live training sessions. The Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), the NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) and the European Air Group (EAG) are also invited to the DVD. 

Background 

The Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) is part of EDA’s wider helicopter portfolio aimed at providing Member States with a joint European framework to develop, consolidate and share best practices to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in a modern operational environment. Other components of this portfolio are the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) programme, the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) programme and the future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC). 

 

HRVP Josep Borrell visits the European Defence Agency

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 19:45

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, visited today the European Defence Agency (EDA) in Brussels. As Head of the Agency, Mr Borrell was presented with a broad overview of EDA’s current work, its ongoing projects and its outlook as a critical provider of security and defence services to the EU and its Member States.

One of the key tasks of the EDA is to support Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations.  The Agency  offers  tangible  services  to  Member  States,  military  and  civilian CSDP  missions/operations, as well as other EU bodies, institutions and agencies. These include the provision of commercially sourced Satellite Communications (Satcom) and wider Communication and Information Systems (CIS) services through EDA, the pooling and sharing of governmental satellite communications (Govsatcom), maritime surveillance assistance, geo-spatial information to support commanders’ decision-making, air medical evacuation solutions, diplomatic clearances for cross-border movements or cyber awareness seminars for mission headquarters, to name only them.

EDA also promotes capability development and training.  The Agency serves as an enabler of EU defence cooperation and a platform where Member States willing to join forces to develop new defence equipment can do so, with the Agency’s providing help and expertise to support them. Multinational capability development at EDA covers the whole life-cycle of a project, from research and development and definition of common standards and requirements to design planning, industrial development and procurement of new defence equipment. All capability domains are covered, including land, air, sea, cyber and space. Current projects promoted by the Agency include the Multirole Tanker Transport Aircraft (MRTT) Fleet, the EDA Helicopter Programme as well as Research & Innovation with a focus on Emerging Disruptive Technologies, IED detection and smart textiles.

 

 

Background

Created in 2004 to support and facilitate defence cooperation in Europe, the European Defence Agency (EDA) allows countries willing to develop their defence capabilities collaboratively to do so. EDA’s expertise and activities include harmonising requirements, delivering operational capabilities, research and technology (R&T), innovation, developing technology demonstrators, training, exercises and support to CSDP operations. EDA also engages closely with the European defence industry to enhance Europe’s defence technological and industrial base. It also helps make the industry stronger and more competitive. 

The European Defence Agency is an intergovernmental agency of the Council of the European Union. It falls under the authority of the Council of the EU, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines. Appointed in December 2019, Josep Borrell is the Head of the Agency. Led by the Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, who was appointed in March 2020, the European Defence Agency has a unique mission, structure and history that brings together each aspect of the defence process.

Emerging propulsion technologies for air and space discussed at workshop

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 12:11
Last week, experts from 18 EDA Member States participated in an online workshop organised by the Agency to identify and discuss emerging propulsion technologies for the air and space defence domain.

The Technology Foresight Workshop on Propulsion for Air and Space, conducted from 1 to 3 June, is part of a wider ongoing series of EDA technology foresight workshops which aim at assessing emerging technologies with respect to their likely impact on future defence capabilities.

Supported by Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de Espana (ISDEFE), the workshop brought together about 50 European subject matter experts in order to focus on emerging propulsion-related technologies for the military air and space domain. It involved members from several EDA Capability & Technology Areas (CapTechs) and Working Groups (WGs), including CapTech Aerial Systems, the Ad-Hoc WG Space, CapTech Missiles and Munitions and CapTech Materials and Structures. The opening part of the event consisted in a plenary session during which the invited keynote speakers introduced the topic and set the scene, followed by separated working sessions during which three expert groups were established at virtual tables. Table discussions defined the landscape of propulsion technologies relevant for future air and space defence, assessed their impact on future military applications and related operational challenges. Beyond that, experts highlighted technological gaps and obstacles and pointed out research needs on the short, medium and long term with respect to military air and space propulsion. The workshop was wrapped up with another plenary session in which summarised results of the table sessions were presented and experts debated possible follow-on and implementation activities.
EDA analysis The workshop results will be further analysed by EDA in the following weeks with the objective to provide participating Member States an overview and assessment of upcoming propulsion-related needs and implications for future military air and space applications. The analysis will also yield recommendations on potential EU research goals and synergies in the air and space domains and help to address critical gaps within current EU air and space propulsion research portfolio.
Background

EDA’s Technology Foresight Workshops aim to provide input to the EDA process of technology evaluation, including the identification and classification of technology trends and emerging technologies as well as the prioritisation of important technologies with respect to medium- and long-term capability needs. The outcome of the workshops is used as background information for relevant defence technologies and will be integrated in EDA Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) and their Technology Building Block (TBB) roadmaps, as well as the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) toolchain, the analyses of Key Strategic Activities (KSA) and in the Strategic Context Cases (SCC) of the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP).

More information:   

MilCERT Interoperability Conference talks strategy

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:58

The EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference 2021, organised by EDA and launched early this year to improve European cooperation between Member States’ national Military Computer Emergency Response Teams (MilCERTs), will be completed this week with a two-day ‘strategic’ part (8/9 June) which was opened today by EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý and the Director of the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre, Dr. Rytis Rainys.

The practical track of the conference, the first ever live-fire cyber exercise for MilCERTS, was held in February and gathered more than 200 experts from 17 EDA Member States and Switzerland. This week’s strategic event will focus on the lessons learnt from the practical exercise and discuss more strategic topics. 

The EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference 2021 (MIC) seeks to initiate the establishment of a permanent forum for discussing information sharing within the EU Network of Military Computer Emergency Response Teams. The expectation is that this conference - and potential future follow-up events - will help to create a more detailed understanding of the challenges and ultimately lay the groundwork to improve information-sharing without undermining the strategic importance of classification. 
In his opening remarks, EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý stressed that the conference was only possible thanks to the very active engagement of the Member States, both in the technical and strategic track: “It is my conviction that we are taking all together the right way towards a stronger cooperation between the military CERTs in Europe”. It is well known that the EU is facing many challenges and threats in cyberspace and that CERTs report an increasing number of attacks on a daily basis, Mr Šedivý said. “That is why the EU has conducted a comprehensive key threat analysis from global and regional perspectives and is preparing a Strategic Compass to strengthen a common European security and defence culture and guide the achievement of its level of ambition. I’m convinced that the interaction and discussions during MIC 2021 will be very useful to inform the related work under the Strategic Compass”, he stated.

Background The EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference 2021 is organised in two tracks, technical and strategic. The first technical track took place on 16/18 February 2021 and focused on a 3-days cyber defence live-fire exercise, with the aim to establish a collaboration channel between technical teams of the interested Member States. More than 200 cyber defence experts from pMS’ milCERTs participated in the exercise. The technical game was focused on the expert level as a capture the flag game.
This week’s strategic track follows-up on the practical part and addresses the heads of the Computer Emergency Response Teams with strategic topics. It consists of several online events, with keynotes delivered by high-profile stakeholders, interactive incidents and discussions between the participants. It aims to build confidence and foster cooperation and information sharing. 
Planning for a second iteration of the EU MilCERT Interoperability Conference is already underway in cooperation with the upcoming Slovenian and French EU Council Presidencies.
 

New EDA helicopter training simulator inaugurated

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 13:52

Last week (26 May), a new helicopter mission simulator installed at EDA’s helicopter training centre at Sintra Airbase in Portugal was officially inaugurated during a joint visit by Portuguese Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho, EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý, EU Military Committee (EUMC) Chairman General Claudio Graziano as well as representatives from all EU Member States. 

The new simulator, a top-notch piece of technology, will allow the training centre to deliver the ground and simulator training parts of the different helicopter tactical courses organised under EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) as well as the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) programme and the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) programme.  

At the same time, it will help prepare the transition of EDA’s full range of helicopter training activities to the future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) which is expected to reach its initial operational capability in October 2023. Between now and then, EDA expects to deliver three more multinational ‘Blade’ exercises (the first of them, Hot Blade 21, will take place later this month in Portugal), two HEP helicopter tactics symposia, 15 HTC, three HTIC, seven Electronic Warfare and four Composite Air Operations planning courses. 

The future MHTC is expected to host around 35 weeks of training per year in its facilities. This will significantly contribute to standardising helicopter tactics training in Europe and enhancing interoperability between Member States’ helicopter crews. 
Portugal, as the host nation of the current EDA helicopter training centre and the future MHTC, has very actively supported EDA in the build-up of this centre and will lead the process to develop and implement the next generation of helicopter trainings at the MHTC.

First successful training 

The new state-of-the-art training simulator has already successfully undergone its baptism of fire on 17 May when EDA’s 67th Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) was held at Sintra Airbase. The simulator was used for the first time, providing realistic and synthetic training to helicopter crews in an immersive environment that replicates the operational scenarios and environmental conditions in which rotary wing may operate.  Two crews from Portugal and two from Germany participated in this training that used the latest simulation software, including virtual reality devices. 

Composite Air Operations (COMAO) Planning Course

Earlier in May, another training, the 5th Helicopter Composite Air Operations (COMAO) Planning Course, has also taken place at Sintra Air Base. 17 trainees from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania and Cyprus as well as an EDA chief instructor team supported by instructors from EDA´s contractor Inzpire, conducted the course assuring the related COVID-19 restrictions, rules and regulations were met to the highest standards. The main objective of the course was to increase interoperability and build a common understanding on how to approach complex mission planning in a multinational environment.

The 2-week course started with a theoretical part, including detailed briefings on COMAO and 4 T’s (Task, Target, Threat and Tactics) mission planning and finished with participants performing large force operations planning, allowing them to gather experience in rotary wing tactics in complex mission scenarios.    

More information:  

CE in Portugal for talks and informal EU defence ministerial

Tue, 05/25/2021 - 09:52

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý is in Portugal this week for high-level talks with Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho and several senior representatives of the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. He also participates in an international conference on the European defence industry, visits the Sintra airbase and attends the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers to be held in Lisbon on Friday (28 May) under the Portuguese EU Presidency. 

On Monday (24 May), Mr Šedivý participated in Lisbon in an international seminar on ‘European Defence Economy’ where he joined a debate on the current state and future prospects of the European defence industry, together with high-level speakers such as Portuguese Minister of Defence João Gomes Cravinho and European Commissioner Thierry Breton. In the margins of the event, he also met with various industry representatives. 

Later on Monday, Mr Šedivý had a bilateral meeting with Minister Gomes Cravinho to discuss a range of topics, including Portugal’s participation in EDA projects and programmes, the implementation of the EU defence initiatives (especially the recent CARD findings and recommendations) and the ongoing work on the Strategic Compass. 

Today (25 May), the Chief Executive will pursue its consultations at the Portuguese Ministry of Defence, inter alia with Defence Policy Director Paulo Lourenço, National Armaments/Capability Director Vasco Hilário and R&T Director Jorge Côrte Real Andrade. He will also meet the Director-General for Foreign Policy, Ambassador Ms. Madalena Fischer.  

On Wednesday 26 May, Mr Šedivý will pay a visit to Sintra Airbase, the site of the future European Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC). Sintra hosts today already the EDA helicopter training centre and, by mid-2023, will also progressively take over EDA’s three helicopter programmes: the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and the Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC). 

On Friday 28, the Chief Executive will attend the informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Lisbon, held under the current Portuguese EU Presidency.  

EDA holds Technology Foresight Exercise

Wed, 05/12/2021 - 17:15

The European Defence Agency will organise next week (17-25 May) the first virtual event of the Technology Foresight Exercise in which will participate more than 160 experts from EDA Member States (and the countries associated with the Agency) as well as from governmental and international organisations, research centres, academia, and industry. The event is part of a wider defence technology foresight exercise which was launched by the Agency in January and will run until the end of this year. The results and findings will inform the future revision of the European research and capability development priorities as well as the work on the EU’s Strategic Compass.

The discussions and activities of next week’s exercise will build on ‘Futures Narratives’, produced by EDA with a core team of experts, so-called ‘Future Tellers’, and on a new emerging technologies report EDA has produced in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The event will include online meetings, discussions, speeches and brainstorming sessions.

The exercise is innovative in that it will combine different methodologies and processes, along with best practices and lessons learned gather from the wider EDA community of foresight practitioners. In addition, the ‘Future Tellers’ have been appointed to facilitate the outside-the-box thinking this exercise will need to be successful. The Future Tellers are experts from a diverse set of technological and non-technological domains, with civil and military background.

Expected exercise outcome

The expected outcome of the 2021 Technology Foresight Exercise is to provide a high-level, long-term vision on all possible future technologies which could have an impact or become relevant for defence by 2040+. This, in turn, will then help inform the next revision of EDA’s Capability Development Plan (CDP), which defines the European capability development priorities, as well as the Overall Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) which contains EDA Member States’ jointly agreed defence research priorities. In addition to that, the outcome of the Agency’s technology foresight activities this year will also flow into the ongoing preparations for the EU’s Strategic Compass, supporting resilience-building and strategic autonomy.

Workshop held in April

 As part of the Agency’s initiatives on this domain, the 8th Annual Workshop on Technology Watch and Foresight took place remotely on 29 April, bringing together 56 experts and professionals from 16 participating Member States’ Ministries of Defence, the European Commission and its Joint Research Centre, EISMEA, Frontex, NATO ACT and STO, as well as public and private entities. An intense exchange and discussion on new methodologies, best practices and lessons learned took place within the community of practitioners.

New website page

Meanwhile, a new section on Technology Watch and Foresight activities has been published on EDA website. It offers plenty of information about EDA’s activities in this domain, as part of the Agency’s R&T planning process, the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) tool chain, and in support of the CapTechs.

High-level Military Mobility Symposium discussed way ahead

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 11:38
More than 350 participants from Member States, EU institutions, industry, academia and think tanks joined the high-level online symposium on ‘Military Mobility - Transforming Ambition into Reality’, co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and EDA. After 2018, it was the second European conference specifically devoted to Military Mobility.   

In his opening remarks, EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý recalled the impressive progress made on this important topic over the past three years, especially as regard the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Military Mobility (launched in March 2018) whose main action points - stretching from transport infrastructure and regulatory issues to cross-border movement permissions and diplomatic clearances - are either already completed or at the verge of completion. EDA is also contributing to this common effort with two major programmes successfully underway: one aimed at harmonising military requirement related to customs and one that aims to optimise cross-border movement permission procedures in Europe.   

“Still, there is more to be done in transforming this ambition into reality. The challenges that lay ahead of us are the full implementation of these achievements in our day-to-day practice and addressing the way forward to the next stage of an Enhanced Military Mobility”, Mr Šedivý said.  Referring to the new impetus that last year’s first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) has given to the topic, by making Enhanced Military Mobility one of the six ‘focus areas’ identified for future European cooperation, the EDA Chief Executive called for “sustaining this political momentum” and using the potential this focus area has “to form clusters of projects and activities in capability development and research and technologies”. Military Mobility has also been taken up under a Dutch-led PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) project, as well as (more indirectly) under a German-led ‘Network of Logistic Hubs in Europe and Support to Operations’ (Loghubs) project. EDA has supporting roles in both PESCO projects and “will continue its efforts and contribute its part to this important joint endeavour”, Mr Šedivý said. He also praised Military Mobility is a “flagship project of EU-NATO cooperation” and a “prime example of effective interactions between the EU and NATO”. 

In his speech, Mircea Geoana, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, stressed the need for cooperation and symbiosis between NATO and the EU, and said the cooperation on Military Mobility, a crucial aspect of European and transatlantic defence, was testimony to that. NATO welcomes the EU’s decision, announced the same day at the EU Foreign Affairs/Defence Council, to allow the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the Dutch-led PESCO Military Mobility project because “non-EU allies make an essential contribution to the defence and security of Europe”, he said. Military Mobility is essential to move troops across the Atlantic and across Europe, making it a crucial element of deterrence, he added. Therefore, NATO appreciates the fact that Military Mobility has become a flagship project of EU/NATO cooperation, based on Joint Declarations of 2016 and 2018. ”Our respective efforts must be mutually reinforcing and benefit all EU and NATO members alike”, Mr Geoana said. 
High-level debate among Ministers  Conference participants then witnessed an interesting high-level panel debate featuring four acting Defence Ministers: Portugal’s João Gomes Cravinho, the Netherland’s Ank Bijleveld, Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Slovenia’s Matej Tonin.  

João Gomes Cravinho (Portugal) emphasised the wider strategic importance of Military Mobility, not also for the EU but also for NATO and the wider transatlantic relationship. If we are successful in this project, it will make a major contribution to Europe’s transatlantic relations and to the EU/NATO relationship, he said. The strategic relevance of Military Mobility is not to be underestimated, its importance and implications go beyond just military considerations. “We see a lot of technical work going on (between EU and NATO), but the result of this technical work will be a political result because, at the end of the day, it is a political project. I hope that Military Mobility will open the door to deeper cooperation between the EU and NATO in a wider range of areas. I hope that in 2035, we can look back and say: the Military Mobility project was the pioneer project” for this enhanced EU/NATO cooperation, the Portuguese Minister said.  

Ank Bijleveld (Netherlands) said it was a “big day” for Military Mobility given that the Council had given its green light to the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the related (Dutch-led) PESCO project. Those three countries “will provide much added value to the project with their expertise and know-how” and it will also “give a boost to increase EU/NATO cooperation”, the Minister stated. “Cooperation between the EU and NATO in this matter is crucial. We look forward to working with all relevant actors: the European External Action Service, the European Commission, the EU Military Staff, the European Defence Agency, NATO and others to further bring forward Military Mobility” which, at the end of the day, will have to be “simple, secure and digital”, she stressed.  

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Germany) also welcomed the participation of the US, Canada, and Norway in the PESCO project, saying it “adds great value to our efforts” in the Military Mobility domain which, she felt, had been “ignored” for too long.  A lot of work remains to be done as Military Mobility is “one of the most complex issues we are dealing with”. The German Minister also praised Military Mobility as a “prime example of better EU-NATO alignment” and enhanced cooperation. “Later this year, NATO’s new Multinational Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC), based in Ulm/Germany, will be fully operational. This reflects the key role Germany plays as the centrally-located mobility hub for Alliance logistic”. The Minister also announced Germany’s intention to pursue a “new project” with the Netherlands: the two Ministries of Defence are currently preparing the establishment of a “Dutch-German office for coordination and alignment of Military Mobility”. “We hope other countries will join this innovation incubator once it is established”, Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer said. 

Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin, whose country will take over the rotating EU Presidency in the second half of this year, said that one of his priorities would be to bring forward EU-NATO cooperation. “As Military mobility represents a project which is key for EU and NATO, it is important that the dialogue between the EU and NATO in field of military mobility, as in many other areas, continues”, he stated. Furthermore, during the upcoming EU Presidency, Slovenia intends to bring forward the collective work on the CARD’s ‘Enhanced Military Mobility’ focus area. “I believe that combining different projects and initiatives into single focus area will improve coordination and facilitate implementation of new capabilities and procedures in the field. Rest assured that Slovenia is supporting it and looking forward to participating in this focus area”, the Minister stressed. Mr Tonin also welcomed today’s Council decision on the participation of Canada, the US and Norway in the PESCO project: “We strongly believe that non-EU Member States and other partner countries should also have the opportunity to participate as their forces and capabilities can potentially be an integral part of our joint defence efforts when necessary”.   US welcomes PESCO decision 

Gregory Kausner, acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment in the US Department of Defence, said the US welcomed the decision on third-country participation in the Military Mobility PESCO project. “This decision demonstrates the EU’s commitment to transatlantic security and enhances cooperation and interoperability. We see our participation in this PESCO project as the next step in closer cooperation between NATO, the EU and the United States”, he said.  

EEAS: Military Mobility also part of work on EU Strategic Compass 

Pawel Herczynski, Managing Director at the European External Action Service (EEAS), said Military Mobility would also be part of the wider (ongoing) work on the EU’s Strategic Compass.  “We are currently in the brain-storming phase among EU Member States on what goals and objectives Member States want to set in the field of security and defence, including on Military Mobility”, he said. “We look forward to concrete and actionable ideas which can guide our work in the years to come” with a view to operationalising the Military Mobility measures taken so far.  One thing is sure, Mr Herczynski stressed: “the relevance of Military Mobility will only grow”. 

Outcome of EDA Ministerial Steering Board

Thu, 05/06/2021 - 13:21

Defence Ministers met today at EDA’s Ministerial Steering Board under the chairmanship of the Head of the Agency, High Representative Josep Borrell.

Ministers discussed the progress made so far as well as the way ahead in the implementation of the recommendations made in the first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) report.  Presented by EDA to Defence Ministers in November 2020, the report drew for the first time a comprehensive picture of the European defence landscape and identified more than 100 collaborative opportunities to be taken up by Member States in six main focus areas: Main Battle Tank, Soldier Systems, European Patrol Class Surface Ship, Counter-UAS – Anti-Access/Area-Denial, Defence in Space, Enhanced Military Mobility.

Ministers welcomed the first steps taken by Member States to implement the recommendations, including the interest expressed by them in taking forward concrete collaborative opportunities and cooperating in focus areas. They called on Member States to further declare their interest in participating and contributing to projects in the focus areas and, if possible, facilitate cooperation in those domains.

In this context, the Steering Board welcomed the willingness expressed by France to facilitate cooperation in the focus area ‘Defence in Space’. Many Member States confirmed their interest in discussing further and engaging in specific focus areas.

EDA was invited by Ministers to make the best possible use of its existing working bodies and, if need be, establish new ones to even better support the CARD implementation.

Background

In 2019-2020, the first full CARD cycle took place with EDA acting as the CARD penholder. The final CARD report finds that the European defence landscape is characterised by high levels of fragmentation and low investment in cooperation, and recommends to overcome this fragmentation through coordinated and continuous efforts among Member States in three major areas which are interlinked: defence spending, defence planning and defence cooperation. To support this renewed cooperation effort, the CARD report also identifies a total of 55 collaborative opportunities throughout the whole capability spectrum, considered to be the most promising, most needed or most pressing ones, also in terms of operational value. Based on this catalogue of identified opportunities, Member States are recommended to concentrate their efforts on the above-mentioned six specific ‘focus areas’ which are also covered by the EU Capability Development Priorities agreed in 2018. In addition to that, 56 options to cooperate in R&T have been identified. They span from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cyber defence, to new sensor technologies, emerging materials and energy efficient propulsion systems as well as unmanned systems and robotics. 

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PADR PILUM project gets started

Wed, 04/28/2021 - 15:00

The implementation of PILUM, a project selected under the 2019 call for proposals for the EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) managed by EDA, was officially launched at an online kick-off meeting on 23 April 2021. 

PILUM stands for ‘Projectiles for Increased Long-range effects Using electroMagnetic railgun’. The project, with a budget of approximately €1.5 million, was selected following an EU-wide PADR call for proposals on the topic of ‘Future Disruptive Defence Technologies - Emerging Game-changers’, sub-topic ‘Long-range effects’. 

The main objective of PILUM is to investigate, both theoretically and experimentally, the feasibility of the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG) and its hypervelocity projectiles. The project will address critical scientific and technological gaps and will provide a first proof-of-concept of the electromagnetic railgun as a long-range artillery system.

The PILUM consortium is led by the French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL) and encompasses renown RTOs, system integrators, global players in defence systems and SMEs from France, Germany, Poland and Belgium. The project has a duration of 24 months. More information on the consortium can be found on the PILUM project page.

Being part of the PADR programme, PILUM outcomes shall support the European Commission, EDA and Member States for the preparation of the Research Dimension of the European Defence Fund. The project is also closely linked to the activities conducted under EDA’s Capability Technology Groups (CapTech Missiles and Munitions and CapTech Components)

About the PADR

The PILUM project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). It paved the way for a proper European Defence Programme to come as part of the European Defence Fund (EDF), under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).

The PADR implementation is run by EDA following the mandate via a Delegation Agreement between the European Commission and EDA signed on 31 May 2017. By this agreement the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects launched within the PADR.  

 

EDA and EUROCONTROL sign joint work programme

Mon, 04/26/2021 - 13:33

EUROCONTROL and the European Defence Agency (EDA) have today signed an agreement updating their complementary activities in support of the military in the context of the Single European Sky (SES) and SESAR.  
 
Eamonn Brennan, Director General EUROCONTROL said “As a civil-military organisation representing 41 Member States, our aim is to ensure that the military are fully involved and represented in all relevant SES/SESAR matters from the outset. Our focus is very much on ensuring that we deliver technical and operational solutions that are aligned with military needs and reflect national considerations.”  
 
Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive, European Defence Agency said “In the framework of SES/SESAR, the Agency acts as interface between the military and the European bodies involved in SES/SESAR. Complementary to the work of EUROCONTROL, our aim is to ensure that security and defence needs are appropriately considered in EU regulations relating to SES/SESAR by providing common military views and requirements upfront.”  
 
EUROCONTROL and the EDA have been working closely in the context of the SES since June 2013 when a first agreement was signed. This new agreement updates the set of joint activities to be carried out over the coming 2 years, aiming to ensure that the SES and SESAR accommodate military requirements to the extent necessary to fulfil national security and defence needs.

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Launch of the PADR project OPTIMISE

Mon, 04/26/2021 - 09:56
On 22 April 2021, the implementation of OPTIMISE was officially launched at an online kick-off meeting. The project was selected under the 2019 call for proposals for the EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) managed by EDA. 

OPTIMISE (innOvative PosiTIoning systeM for defence In gnSs-denied arEas) was selected following an EU-wide PADR call for proposals on the topic of ‘Future Disruptive Defence Technologies - Emerging Game-changers’, in the sub-topic related to Autonomous positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). 

The project’s main objective is to improve positioning, navigation and timing in areas without access to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). OPTIMISE will develop a novel architecture to fuse data from different sensors and signals and achieve integration of different PNT technologies. The project can thus have a significant impact on a large number of military tasks which are currently dependent solely on GNSS.

The consortium is coordinated by Skylife Engineering (Spain) and comprises research centres, high-tech SMEs, system integrators and a university from Spain, Italy, France and Slovakia. The project has a duration of 24 months and a budget of approximately €1.5 million. More information can be found on the OPTIMISE project page.

Being part of the PADR programme, the project outcomes shall support the European Commission, EDA and Member States for the preparation of the Research Dimension of the European Defence Fund. The project is also related to the work conducted under the Capability Technology Groups of EDA (CapTech Guidance, Navigation and Control and the Ad Hoc Working Group Space).
About the PADR The OPTIMISE project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). It paved the way for a proper European Defence Programme to come as part of the European Defence Fund (EDF), under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).
The PADR implementation is run by EDA following the mandate via a Delegation Agreement between the European Commission and EDA signed on 31 May 2017. By this agreement the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects launched within the PADR.  

CARD implementation and EDA’s roles in EDF discussed at NAD Steering Board

Thu, 04/22/2021 - 15:31
EDA’s Steering Board in National Armament Directors’ (NAD) composition met today in VTC format under the chairmanship of Bulgaria’s Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov. NADs’ discussion focused on the implementation of the 2020 CARD report recommendations and EDA’s roles in support of the European Defence Fund. 

After a presentation by Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý on the progress made on a wide range of EDA projects, programmes and activities, National Armaments Directors discussed the state of play and next steps to be taken as regards the implementation of the recommendations of the first CARD report presented to Defence Ministers in November 2020 - a topic that will also feature high on the agenda of EDA’s upcoming Ministerial Steering Board meeting on 6 May. Food for Thought There was a general understanding that particular attention must be paid to transforming the identified focus areas and collaborative opportunities into concrete projects. To support this process, EDA provided NADs with a Food for Thought paper (FFT) on how to implement CARD capability-related recommendations, focused on those which are within the Agency’s remit: defence spending, defence planning and defence cooperation.  In each of the three areas, EDA proposes achievable objectives for 2021 as well as options on how EDA could support the Member States in their efforts. The FFT paper was discussed today by NADs and, after the 6 May ministerial debate, will also be on the table of EDA’s Steering Board in Capability Directors’ (CAP) composition in June. Support to EDF

In the presence of Director-General Timo Pesonen of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS), NADs also exchanged views on how and in what roles EDA can best add value in supporting the European Defence Fund (EDF). The debate led to further common understanding among participating Member States and was based on an Agency document on EDA’s potential roles in the EDF across the upstream, implementation, and downstream phases. 

Relations with partners

NADs also had an exchange of views on the Agency’s relations with OCCAR and NATO. For those two discussions they were joined respectively by OCCAR Executive Director Matteo Bisceglia and NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Division, Skip Davis. 

 

REACH implementation and impact on defence discussed

Wed, 04/21/2021 - 18:02

At today’s 13th EDA REACH plenary meeting, experts from the Ministries of Defence of participating Member States exchanged views with representatives of the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Space Agency (ESA), national space agencies as well as the European defence industry on the latest developments regarding the implementation of the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and other relevant EU regulations on chemicals and waste regulations in the defence domain. 

The main aim of the meeting was to jointly explore ways and means to meet the objectives of these EU regulations and ensure their coherent application in the defence sector while, at the same time,  mitigate their possible impact on the operational capabilities of participating Member States’ Armed Forces and the competitiveness and innovation of the EU defence industry, as an important stakeholder in support of European defence capabilities. The discussions were based on EDA’s ongoing activities in the area of REACH and other relevant EU chemicals and waste regulations, as well as recent regulatory developments at European level such as the EU Green Deal  and EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability towards a toxic-free environment.

The European defence industry was represented at the meeting by some 70  representatives from a wide range of stakeholders with expertise/activities in the area of REACH and other relevant EU chemicals and waste regulations such as the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), National Defence Industry Associations (NDIAs), individual industries, research and technology organisations, and academia. 

The main conclusion of the debate was that, while EDA participating Member States and the EU defence industry strongly support the implementation of REACH in the defence domain (for its positive effects on human health and the environment), it is crucial to ensure that potential negative impacts of its implementation on defence are identified at an early stage in order to be mitigated appropriately. To this end, EDA’s work on REACH is considered very important.

Background

EDA is addressing REACH and its defence implications since 2009, at the request of its participating Member States and in close coordination with the European Commission. 
The Agency’s work in this field was guided until recently by the EDA REACH Roadmap 2018-2020  which was adopted by Member States in October 2017 and contained a comprehensive list of activities, the majority of which have recently been successfully completed, or are continuous in nature. 

A follow-up EDA REACH Roadmap for years 2021-2023 is currently in the last stages of approval by EDA participating Member States. In addition to REACH, this roadmap also covers activities related to other relevant EU chemicals and waste regulations, on the basis also of the outcome of a recent EDA study.

EDA closely engages with and regularly invites key stakeholders to EDA REACH meetings, such as the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency, the European Space Agency and (under the overarching comprehensive EDA approach on industry engagement) EU defence industry, in order to facilitate closer and more transparent interaction on defence-related REACH issues, which is seen as an important success factor for EDA’s work in this field. 

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High-level conference discussed impact of emerging disruptive technologies on defence

Tue, 04/20/2021 - 16:52

At a high-level online conference co-hosted today by the European Defence Agency and the Portuguese Ministry of Defence (under the auspices of the current Portuguese EU Presidency), senior representatives from Ministries of Defence, defence research centres, industry, European institutions as well as NATO discussed existing and future challenges and opportunities related to emerging disruptive technologies in defence.

Emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) such as artificial intelligence, big data, quantum technology, robotics, autonomous systems, new advanced materials, blockchain, hypersonic weapons systems and biotechnologies applied to human enhancements - to name only them - are expected to have a disruptive impact on defence and revolutionise future military capabilities, strategy and operations. The conference provided a comprehensive overview of EDA’s role in European defence research and stressed the need for Member States and the EU to sustain and further increase investment in innovative and disruptive technologies to support state-of-the-art defence capabilities.

The event was opened by the Portuguese Minister of Defence, João Gomes Cravinho (speaking from Porto) and EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý.  

In his speech, Minister Cravinho stressed the need for cooperation and synergies between civil and military actors in order to get the most out of new emerging technologies for defence. “When it comes to EDTs, we need to stimulate synergies between NATO, the European Commission and EDA, taking advantage of civil-military cooperation and the dual-use nature of technological development”, he stated.

EDA Chief Executive Šedivý said in his speech that the EU’s strategic and political defence ambitions can only be credible if they are underpinned by technology and innovation. “For the EU to be a credible security provider and a trusted partner in defence, we must focus our efforts on the development and mastering of technologies that have a serious potential to revolutionise our military capabilities, strategies and operations. Emerging Disruptive Technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, quantum technologies or hypersonic weapons and new space technologies, must be in the centre of our capability development”, he stated. 

Jiří šedivý, EDA Chief Executive Disruptive technologies for disruptive capabilities

The opening part was followed by several keynote speeches.

Focusing on the disruptive potential of technologies at the interface between security, defence and space, Stephen Quest (European Commission Director at the General Joint Research Centre) said the strategic importance of cross-fertilisation between civil-military industries was behind the Action Plan the European Commission has presented last February to enhance synergies and cross-fertilisation between civil, defence and space industries. The Action Plan covers three priorities, Mr Quest said. “First, to build new synergies among EU programmes and instruments so that disruptive technologies can find concrete uses across civil, defence and space industries. Secondly, to enable that defence and space technologies find concrete civil applications, the so-called ‘spin-offs’. And thirdly, to facilitate the use of civil research and innovations into new European defence projects, the so-called ‘spin-ins’”. The Commission will present by October a roadmap on key technologies for security and defence including options for (a) boosting research, development and innovation and (b) reducing strategic dependencies in critical technologies and value chains, he said. 

General André Lanata, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, said EDTs were technologies whose practical uses have the potential to fundamentally change the way military forces operate. If we are serious about seizing the opportunities of EDTs, we need to fundamentally change the way we operate and think. We need resources and above all a cultural revolution, he stated.  Innovation and EDTs offer a wide range of opportunities for fruitful boosts to EU-NATO cooperation, he added. 

Petter Bedoire (Chief Technology Officer, Saab Group) referred to the need to make sure the new technologies developed will create opportunities rather than threats. There is also the challenge of finding a balance between the possibilities enabled by disruptive technologies and the defence capabilities actually required by the Armed Forces, he said.   

Panel discussions

Throughout the day, the conference attendants witnessed three successive panel discussions: 

  • The first one on Disruptive Technologies and the Expected Impact on Defence with the following panellists: MGen Corte-Real Andrade (R&T Director, MoD Portugal), Jean-François Ripoche (EDA RTI Director), Sylvia Kainz-Huber (Head of Unit, DG DEFIS, European Commission), MGen Herminio Maio (MPCC Chief of Staff), Pablo Gonzales (Chairman of ASD DRDT Working Group and Director NATO & EU Defence Programmes, Indra).
  • The second one focused more specifically on Artificial Intelligence with an interesting exchange of views between the panellists Auke Venema (R&T Director, MoD The Netherlands), Alípio Jorge (Coordinator for the national strategy for AI, Portugal), Jonas Andrulis (CEO Aleph, Alpha GmbH), Anna-Mari Heikkila (VTT Finland) as well as Panagiotis Kikiras (EDA Head of Unit Innovative Research).
  • The third one, centred on Autonomous Systems, featured Mr Martin Jõesaar (Chief of Project Office at the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments), José Santos Victor (Director of Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica, Portugal), Joachim Schaper (Head of AI and Big Data at Porsche), Paolo Arrighi (Chief Technology Officer - Land Armaments and Systems, Leonardo), Mário Martinho (EDA CapTech Ground Systems moderator).

The conference was closed by Vasco Hilario (National Armaments Director, Portugal) and EDA RTI Director Jean-François Ripoche.

Digital exhibition

Conference participants ware also able to visit a digital exhibition of EDA research and technology activities, showcasing a number of Member States successful cooperation projects.

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New survey launched to identify EU Govsatcom user needs

Mon, 04/19/2021 - 09:26

A European-wide survey aimed at identifying user needs and use cases for future EU GOVSATCOM services was launched today under the ENTRUSTED project, in which EDA participates. The survey, which runs until the end of June, is addressed to governmental and institutional users managing security-critical missions, operations and infrastructures. It will allow assessing the current and evolving needs of prospective EU GOVSATCOM users, as well as their use of existing secure SatCom capabilities.

The results and findings of the survey will be submitted to the European Commission to help it prepare a set of prioritised user requirements which will be subsequently considered in the implementing regulations for the new EU GOVSATCOM programme which, as part of the new EU Space Programme 2021-2027, aims at providing secure and reliable satellite communications for governmental users in Member States, for EU agencies and institutions. The survey will focus on users’ needs and requirements in different fields of application. In addition, it will help review secure SatCom capabilities currently in use (in terms of user technology and services), as well as future technological trends. More than 350 EU GOVSATCOM users have been identified as potential participants in the survey. The Member States’ Armed Forces will be addressed by EDA. The Agency will contribute to a consolidated reply for the EU defence users to the ENTRUSTED project.  

About ENTRUSTED

ENTRUSTED (‘European Networking for satellite Telecommunication Roadmap for the governmental Users requiring Secure, inTeroperable, innovativE and standardiseD services’) is a European research project, launched by the European Commission in September 2020 under the HORIZON 2020 programme. Under the leadership of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) and with a budget of €3 million, ENTRUSTED will identify needs and requirements of secure satellite communication end-users. The project will contribute to the formulation of assumptions and guidelines, in terms of user-oriented activities, for the future EU GOVSATCOM programme aimed at creating independent, autonomous and secure satellite communication system for EU Member States and agencies. It will run until February 2023. 

EDA is a member of the ENTRUSTED consortium where it represents its participating Member States. The Agency contributes to all work packages with a focus on user needs, requirements and use cases definition, surveying the state-of-the-art of existing secure SatCom user technologies and definition of a research and development (R&D) roadmap.

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EDA participates in ‘Locked Shields’ cyber defence exercise

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 09:07
EDA participates this week in the Exercise ‘Locked Shields 2021’, the largest and most complex international live-fire cyber defence exercise organised from 13-16 April by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). Taking place every spring since 2010, the exercise puts this year a special focus on the need for cyber defenders and strategic decision-makers to understand the numerous interdependencies between national IT systems.  

More than 2000 participants from 30 nations will have the possibility to test and train their entire chain of command in the event of a severe cyber incident, ranging from the strategic to the operational and tactical levels and involving both civilian and military capabilities. Reflecting real world cyber threats, the exercise deals with the protection of vital services and critical infrastructure that are fundamental for modern societies to operate, including critical information infrastructure, power and water supply and national defence systems. For the first time, the exercise also includes satellite mission control systems needed to provide real time situational awareness to facilitate military decision-making.  

Based on a fictive but realistic scenario, ‘Locked Shields’ will see a Red Team acting against 22 Blue Teams which take on the role of national cyber–Rapid Reaction Teams that are deployed to assist a fictional country in handling a large-scale cyber incident with all its implications. The exercise involves cutting-edge technologies, complex networks, and diverse attack methods with some 5000 virtualised systems being subject to more than 4000 attacks. In addition to securing complex IT systems, the participating Blue Teams must also be effective in reporting incidents, strategic decision making and solving forensic, legal, media and information operations challenges. In previous iterations of Locked Shields, the organisers of the exercise gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, with the participating Blue Teams joining remotely by secure online access from their home base. However, in 2021, the exercise differs in that the organisers will also be contributing remotely from their home nations.  
EDA support to strategic track  After 2019, EDA will support the strategic track of the Locked Shields exercise for the second time (LS20 was cancelled due to Covid pandemic) by bringing in its expertise and experience gained from its own Comprehensive Cyber Senior decision-making (CC SDM) exercise which has taken place in different EDA Member States since 2014 and where the participating countries had the opportunity to test and evaluate national crisis mechanisms and procedures. In particular, EDA will support Locked Shields’ exercise control unit’s White Team to manage the different Blue Teams during the strategic track of the exercise. In addition to that, EDA developed and provided the specific air scenario inputs as part of the overall strategic scenario. 
Background  Locked Shields 2021 is organised by the Tallin-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in cooperation with NATO Communications and Information Agency, the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the Estonian Defence Forces, the European Defence Agency (EDA), Siemens, Ericsson, TalTech, CR14, Bittium, Clarified Security, Arctic Security, Cisco, Stamus Networks, SpaceIT, Sentinel, the Financial Service Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), US Defense Innovation Unit, Microsoft, Atech, Avibras, SUTD iTrust Singapore, The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Space ISAC, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), STM, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, NATO M&S COE and PaloAlto networks. 
More information: 

EDA’s Annual Report 2020 is out!

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 12:40
Marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was an unusual yet productive year for the European Defence Agency, one worth to be looked back at. The 2020 Annual Report, published today, provides a comprehensive overview of the work accomplished in EDA’s various activity domains throughout the past year.

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

The PDF version of the 2020 Annual Report can be downloaded here.
 

Third simulation trial for OCEAN2020 project

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 11:44

Last week, EDA has supervised the third and last simulation session of the OCEAN2020 project: 12 simulations centers from research centers, universities, small and major industries in several different countries across Europe were linked together using the High-Level Architecture standards to run specific scenarios in real time.

The simulation highlighted the central role of unmanned systems in various complex situations such as jamming or bad weather conditions, the use of small swarm of unmanned air and/or surface systems for coordinated research paths, the use of unmanned surface and underwater systems working in a squad for anti-mine warfare or the use of gun and missile systems on unmanned air and surface vehicles. The whole session was monitored by EDA from Brussels using video conference systems. The results and main takeaways will be discussed at a project webinar on 30th March.

Overall, the three simulation sessions proved crucial in preparing the two live sea demonstrations - one held in the Mediterranean Sea in November 2019 and one that is scheduled to take place in the Baltic Sea in August of this year - but also to play complex scenarios almost impossible to execute in real-life.

Although the two demonstrations remain key objectives, the simulation in this project has also allowed the development of new and innovative models for unmanned sensors and platforms in the different simulation centers of this wide consortium which entails 43 entities including large defence industries, small and medium enterprises, universities, research institutes and end users from 15 countries across Europe.

Background

OCEAN2020 is so far the largest project financed by the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) managed by the European Defence Agency on behalf of the European Commission. Its main objective is to demonstrate the improvement of maritime situational awareness by the coordinated use of multiple unmanned systems in the three domains (air, surface, subsurface).

 More information can be found on the OCEAN2020 website and in the factsheet

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