“To improve the European defence capabilities, both Member States and the defence industry must together contribute effectively and intelligently towards capacity building and developing next generation technologies,“ said Permanent Secretary at the Estonian Ministry of Defence Kusti Salm.
Sixteen projects include participants from Estonia, with a total volume of 495 million euros. The project participants include 15 companies and organisations from Estonia: Baltic Workboats, Cafa Tech, Cybernetica, Cybexer, Falconers, Marduk Technologies, MAWI Solutions, Milrem, Foundation CR14, Spacewave, Talgen Cybersecurity, Taltech and VR Lab.
The largest project among them led by the Estonian company Baltic Workboats is EUROGUARD, a medium-size semi-autonomous surface vessel development project. The project will develop a next generation prototype for a vessel that will improve the effectiveness of maritime operations and cooperation between European states in the maritime domain. The total budget of the project is 95 million euros, of which 65 million is European Commission funding and 30 million funding from the participating states. In addition to Estonia, ten partner states from Europe include Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden.
“The working programme for the European Defence Fund for 2022 is ambitious and diverse. A good example is the Estonian-led semi-autonomous surface vessel project, aimed at developing a solution that would bring the autonomous and modular revolution to the maritime domain as well,” added Salm.
Five of the 16 projects with Estonian participation will also receive financing from the Ministry of Defence of Estonia in the total sum of 400.000 euros. The total cost of these five projects is nearly 280 million euros. These projects will create novel solutions in the areas of cyber and information warfare, EU maritime surveillance and satellite development, as well as territorial defence and information technologies.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the increased interest of Estonian businesses and research institutions to participate in this competition is a very positive development, since it will mean more opportunities for participating in defence projects and additional funds for Estonian defence industry for developing new technologies and products. The success of the companies is also important for the Estonian state, because the allocated funding will allow it to further develop important capabilities.
In the 2022 European Defence Fund competition, 41 projects received financing in the total sum of 832 million euros. In all, 134 project applications were submitted to the European Commission.
From 2021 to 2027, the European Union is investing circa 8 billion euros into defence research and development through the European Defence Fund. The programme helps reduce the fragmentation of the European weapons systems and contributes to increasing European competitiveness and cooperation in defence research and development.
Summary of the projects co-financed by the Ministry of Defence:
- Estonian-led project for Medium-Sized Semi-Autonomous Surface Vessel/EUROGUARD. The project contributes to the need for more rapid response capabilities by well-coordinated EU naval vessel fleets with advanced platform and weapon systems’ Technologies. EUROGUARD will integrate innovative EU technologies into a demonstrator vessel able to carry several modular mission modules to demonstrate, in a representative environment, autonomous operation for a number of coastal operations. The project is led by the Estonian company Baltic Workboats and includes participants from Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden.
- Cyber and Information warfare toolbox/EUCINF. The project EUCINF will study, design, prototype, test and demonstrate cutting-edge capabilities in the domain of Cyber and Information Warfare through a toolbox, i.e. a holistic system capable of defending and processing metadata from the cyber domain. The Estonian participant is Cybernetica.
- Collaborative combat for land forces/LATACC. The project will improve armed forces’ collaborative capabilities from Brigade command post down to combat vehicles, dismounted soldier, and unmanned assets in high intensity conflicts. The Estonian participant is Milrem.
- Naval Collaborative Surveillance/E-NACSOS. The project aims improve surveillance between EU naval surface vessels, enabling to better detect and classify threats. The Estonian participant is Cafa Tech.
- Modelling, simulation and simulator integration contributing to decision-making and training /FEDERATES. The project proposes an European Modelling and Simulation as a service solution for distributed synthetic training and decision-making, leading to new training opportunities, pooling of simulation resources, access to training, reduced set-up times, reduced costs and faster development of future solutions, and a new marketplace for services. The Estonian participant is CRIFFIN (VR LAB).
- Innovative multi-sensor space-based Earth observation capabilities towards persistent and reactive ISR/SPIDER. The project is a feasibility study addressing developments of multi-mission affordable satellites constellations dedicated to space-based Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconnaissance (ISR) for defence use-cases. The Estonian participants are Falconers/Taltech and Spacewave.