Estonian Centre for Defence Investment Press Release
Estonian projects won more than EUR 10 million from the European Defence Fund
Four Estonian defence companies – Milrem Robotics, Cybernetica, GT Cyber Technologies, DefSecIntel Solutions – received defence related research and development funding from the European Union which will increase European defence capabilities and raise the level of competitiveness of the Estonian defence industry.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the funding in excess of EUR 10 million for Estonian defence industry companies will raise the level of competitiveness and opportunities for development of the domestic defence industry, and strengthen both Estonian and European defence capabilities as a whole.
‘Defence related research and development has never previously been financed from the European Union’s common budget. The change will help reduce the fragmentation of Europe's weapons systems and thus promote greater interoperability between the armed forces of European countries’, noted Luik.
He added that the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) was developed and agreed upon between EU member states during the Estonian presidency of the EU council in 2017. ‘Today, the programme has become operational and the Estonian defence industry will receive the opportunity to lead one of Europe's most ambitious development programmes, and in addition, Estonian companies will be able to enter the supply chains of large European defence companies through the development activities, thereby increasing the share of all Estonian exports’, stated Luik.
Kusti Salm, Director of the Centre for Defence Investments, said that the European Union’s investment in the Estonian defence industry can be considered monumental.
‘The fact that a European-wide unmanned ground systems development programme was prepared and implemented under Estonian leadership is arguably the biggest thing that the Estonian defence industry has ever managed to do. Managing and participating in joint projects provides both companies and the Estonian state valuable cooperation experience, the opportunity to access the supply chains of large companies, and to increase the Estonian defence industry’s exports, thereby bringing additional money to the Estonian economy’, noted Salm.
The European Union will invest EUR 500 million in defence research and development in 2019-2020 through the European Defence Industrial Development Program, with more than EUR 10 million going to four Estonian companies.
A total of nine Estonian companies and research institutions participated in the 2019 European Defence Industrial Development Programme competition. The Estonian state supported five projects in the form of co-financing or with written confirmation. The winners of the competition included four projects in which four Estonian companies are participating, which is a very impressive result for a country the size of Estonia.
Being developed within the framework of the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System or iMUGS project, are an unmanned ground vehicle and command system, cyber defence solutions, and an integrated sensor network. The system's initial operational functions will be associated with improving situational awareness on the battlefield as well as raising the manoeuvring and transportation capabilities of units. The long-term goal of the iMUGS project is to create a standard for unmanned ground vehicles, on which all autonomous systems should rely in the future. Estonia, Finland, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Latvia have joined the project. The total cost of the project is EUR 32.5 million, with the European Commission providing support in the amount of EUR 30.6 million. Other Estonian companies participating in the project, in addition to Milrem Robotics, include GT Cyber Technologies, and among Estonian research institutions the Estonian Military Academy. Included in the project as sub-contractors are Threod Systems, Rantelon, and DefSecIntel Solutions.
The goal of the Spanish led European Cyber Situational Awareness Platform (ECYSAP) is to create a prototype cyber situational awareness platform for military use. Spain, Italy, France and Estonia have joined the project. The total cost of the project is EUR 18.8 million, with EUR 10.9 million having been applied for from EDIDP. The industrial consortium developing the platform is being led by the Spanish company Indra Sistemas, and involves the Estonian company Cybernetica, which is involved in the project’s visualization of situational awareness and integration of sensors.
The goal of the European Command & Control System (ESC2) is to develop strategic and operational level command systems for use in European Union Military Staff (EUMS) and Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) operations. During the project, the design of the communications system will be completed. Spain, Portugal, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and France have joined the project. The total cost of the project is EUR 22 million, with EU support comprising EUR 20 million.
Persistent Earth Observation for Actionable Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (PEONEER) deals with geoanalysis, monitoring and intelligence. Five countries have joined the project, with the Italian space company e-GEOS S.p.A. serving as the head. Estonian company DefSecIntel is developing artificial intelligence-based image data processing and automatic object recognition. The total cost of the project is EUR 8.48 million, with EU support comprising EUR 7.2 million.
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