Brussels, 16 February 2018

The European Defence Fund continues to deliver with another set of EU-funded defence research projects. The Fund, launched by President Juncker in June 2017, is a catalyst for the creation of a strong EU defence industry. It boosts defence capabilities and builds new partnerships across borders.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: "The European Defence Fund is essential to bring more cooperation between defence companies and the military in the European Union and to ensure Europe's strategic autonomy. The pan-European collaborative defence research projects supported by the Fund are designed to ensure Europe's technological leadership, lay the foundations for future defence capabilities and support a more innovative and competitive European defence industry."

The Ocean2020 project supports maritime surveillance and interdiction missions at sea and to that end will integrate drones and unmanned submarines into fleet operations. The information acquired will be combined with conventional systems to build up a comprehensive picture of developing situations for military commanders.

The project will be run by a consortium led by Leonardo S.p.A, bringing together 42 partners from 15 EU countries. It will receive a grant of around €35 million. In 2019, the project will stage two real-life demonstrations – one in the Baltics led by the Swedish navy and one in the Mediterranean led by the Italian navy.

Three other projects that aim to improve soldiers' equipment were each awarded grants in the range of €1 to 3 million:

  • ACAMSII will develop adaptive camouflage that will protect soldiers against sensors operating in several wavelength ranges.
  • Gossra will improve the compatibility of complex system elements (e.g. sensors or digital goggles) carried by soldiers.
  • Vestlife seeks to develop ultralight body armour for dismounted soldiers.

The grant agreements for these projects will be signed in the coming weeks. 

Today's announcement on support for these defence research projects comes on the opening day of the annual Munich Security Conference, where President Juncker will present further steps to promote a stronger Europe on security and defence. The President will be accompanied by Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioners Johannes Hahn, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Julian King.

More information on the projects

Ocean 2020: the project aims to enhance situational awareness in a maritime environment by using manned and unmanned systems and building a complete picture on the basis of many different inputs. Defence Ministries in Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are involved. The industrial partners are: Indra, Safran, Saab, MBDA, PGZ/CTM Hensoldt, Intracom-IDE, Fincantieri and Qinetiq. Research centres include Fraunhofer, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO), the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE NATO) and the Italian Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI).

ACAMSII: this project will develop adaptive camouflage for soldiers that will protect them against sensors operating in several wavelength ranges. Partners from France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden are involved. Participating companies are from the textile, aerospace and defence system integrators sectors: CITEVE, Damel and Safran. Research centres are the Swedish Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI), Fraunhofer, and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO). 

GOSSRA: this project focuses onensuring thatcomplex system elements worn by soldiers work together. Soldiers are equipped with a range of devices which are required to work together. The project aims to create a methodology for specifying how components connect, making it much easier to develop new devices that can work with existing equipment. Partners from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden will run the project. The companies involved are Rheinmetall, Indra, GMV aerospace and defence, Leonardo, Larimart and Saab; SMEs Tekever and iTTi and the research institute Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO).

Vestlife: the goal of this project is to create protective clothing for soldiers. It will work on developing clothes that are effective for defence purposes, but lighter, more flexible and comfortable at the same time. Partners from Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, together with companies CITEVE and FY-composites, research institutes AITEX and TECNALIA are involved. Two small and medium enterprises (SMEs) BRAPA and Petroceramics are also taking part in the project.

Source: The European Commission

Illustration Photo: Sailors prepare underwater unmanned vehicle (credits: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derek Harkins/Released / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))



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