The Defence Innovation Competition for Estonian enterprises – for the development of innovative and high export potential weapons systems, ammunition and munitions or associated products – has begun.
At the beginning of July this year the Estonian Parliament passed the amendment to the Weapons Act, which allows manufacturing and handling of weapons and military ammunition by the private enterprises. An activity that was previously prohibited by the law in Estonia. The primary goal of the competition is to promote the amendment to the law and attract new companies and ground-breaking products to Estonia’s defence industry sector.
‘Our success parameter for the competition is to get at least 3-4 new and innovative products that can be marketed in Estonia and abroad,’ said Eneli Saabas, Chief Defence Industry Officer at the Ministry of Defence.
The competition is targeted to companies that are registered in Estonia, have clever ideas and are committed to grow their business in manufacturing weapon systems or ammunition. Competition winners will be able to engage in product development and testing with the Estonian Defence Forces.
The total budget of the projects is expected to surpass EUR 1,000,000. The government contribution to the winners of the competition will be EUR 500,000. The maximum support for a single project is up to EUR 200,000 and state support can be a maximum of 45 per cent of the cost of the development project. ‘This preserves the motivation of enterprises and helps to ensure the projects will lead to successful results,’ said Saabas.
The competition is taking place for the sixth consecutive year. Over the years the most successful results of the competition include following products: the development of Milrem Robotics’ autonomous ground platform, the unmanned aerial vehicles developed by ELI and Threod Systems, communication and monitoring systems developed by Rantelon, bomb-shelter by Terramil and modular field medical hospital and hospital information system by Semetron.
Applications are being assessed by a committee consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Forces, business organisations and outside experts.
The application must be submitted by 31 October, at the latest, to the e-mail address arendusprogramm[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee. Winners will be announced at the end of the year.
Application form and competition terms and conditions:
Development project ideas can be tested and team members found at Estonia's first international defence sector development marathon, Defence Makeathon, taking place from 28–30 September, in Tartu. Information and registration: http://garage48.org/events/garage48-defence-makeathon
Chief Defence Industry Officer
The Ministry of Defence of Estonia