Ministry supports Estonian companies developing smart defense products

Ministry of Defense.
Ministry of Defense. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

This year, the Ministry of Defense is providing a total of nearly €700,000 in financial support to Estonian companies' innovative and smart product projects for the defense industry via the annual Defense Innovation Competition.

Supported projects include a tactical data exchange platform compatible with a combat control system, an infrared thermal camera for both satellites and drones, a directional mine training system, a mixed reality solution for armored vehicles, a gyrostabilized electro-optical system compatible with different platforms, and a universal container for decontaminating and washing vehicles and equipment, according to a ministry press release.

"Held for the ninth time, each year, the competition has delivered innovative solutions and technologies with export potential for our defense industry," said Ministry of Defense Undersecretary for Defense Planning Tiina Uudeberg. "In addition, the implementation of each supported project sees extra money being brought back into our economy as well."

According to Uudeberg, the Defense Innovation Competition provides many Estonian companies with their first practical experience in developing innovative defense industry products.

"In addition, the Ministry of Defense assists companies in securing external funding from the European Defense Fund for further product development, and promotes business diplomacy by supporting the companies in reaching foreign markets," she added.

Between 2013-2021, the ministry has supported 41 projects with a total of €3 million.

According to the undersecretary, cooperation between the defense industry and the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) is of critical importance because the defense industry needs the advice and recommendations of EDF experts to develop the best possible solutions.

This cooperation also provides companies with an excellent opportunity to test products with the EDF, she added.

"It is important that we be informed about the latest solutions and projects in the field, which we can use to strengthen Estonia's defense capability if necessary," Uudeberg noted.

In all, a total of 12 companies submitted 11 applications to the competition this year, with total project costs equaling €2.55 million and a total of €1.13 million in funding requested from the Ministry of Defense.

Projects to receive support in 2022

  • Wayren OÜ/DefenceLab OÜ's "Tactical data exchange platform with armored troops awareness system integration"
    €71,184, or 45 percent of total project cost
  • Hevi Optronics OÜ's "Development of control electronics and software for gyrostabilized electro-optical systems"
    €74,655, or 45 percent of total project cost
  • Defensphere OÜ's "Vegvisir mixed reality situational awareness system"
    €199,731, or 45 percent of total project cost
  • Milson OÜ, "Directional mine training system"
    €15,156, or 45 percent of total project cost
  • SpaceIT OÜ, "MilCaM: multi-sensor thermal infrared camera for satellites and drones"
    €103,725, or 45 percent of total project cost
  • Bristol Trust LLC, "Universal container"
    €200,000, or 31 percent of total project cost

The Defense Innovation Competition is the Ministry of Defense's primary supporting measure for Estonian companies developing defense-related products. The competition has a budget of up to €700,000, with each project eligible to receive up to €200,000 in support. Ministry support per project is typically 25 percent, but can reach up to 45 percent of total project cost, depending on a given project's potential.

Requests submitted to the competition were assessed by a commission including representatives from the Ministry of Defense, the EDF, internal security authorities, Estonian economic development agencies as well as Estonian universities.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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