Sixteen European Defense Fund projects with Estonian involvement were allocated funding by the European Commission this week, an "unprecedented" number. In total, €495 million was allocated to the projects.
The Estonian companies involved are Baltic Workboats, Cafa Tech, Cybernetica, Cybexer, Falconers, Marduk Technologies, MAWI Solutions, Milrem, Foundation CR14, Spacewave, Talgen Cybersecurity, Taltech, and VR Lab.
The largest project led by an Estonian company is Baltic Workboats' EUROGUARD, which is developing a medium-sized semi-autonomous boat.
The vessel will improve the effectiveness of maritime operations and cooperation between European states, a statement from the Ministry of Defense said.
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, 10 partner states from Europe include Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden.
The ministry said this is Estonia's best-ever result and shows the high level of interest among Estonian businesses and research institutions in participating in EU-wide defense research and development cooperation
"To improve the European defense capabilities, both Member States and the defense industry must together contribute effectively and intelligently towards capacity building and developing next-generation technologies," said Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm.
Five projects will also receive financing from the Ministry of Defence totaling €400,000. The total cost of these five projects is nearly €280 million.
The projects focus on cyber and information warfare, EU maritime surveillance and satellite development, as well as territorial defense and information technologies.
Between 2021 to 2027, the European Union is investing approximately €8 billion into defense research and development through the European Defense Fund.
The program 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:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) Naval Collaborative Surveillance/E-NACSOS. The project aims to improve surveillance between EU naval surface vessels, enabling to better detect and classify threats. The Estonian participant is Cafa Tech.
5) Modelling, simulation and simulator integration contributing to decision-making and training /FEDERATES. The project proposes a 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).
6) 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 defense use-cases. The Estonian participants are Falconers/Taltech and Spacewave.
Editor: Helen Wright