The European Commission (EC) announced, on June 15, that €205 million have been awarded to 16 pan-European defence industrial projects and three disruptive technology projects.
The projects are funded through the two precursor programmes of a fully-fledged European Defence Fund (EDF): the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).
The projects announced will support the development of European defence capabilities such as drones and related technologies (low-observable and tactical drones, detect and avoid system for military drones, edge computing platforms for drones), space technologies (Galileo military-grade encrypted receivers, military grade optical payload for small satellites, big data system for satellite surveillance), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), high precision missile systems (BLOS – anti-tank missiles, ATGMs), future naval platforms, airborne electronic attack capability, tactical and highly secured networks, cyber situational awareness platforms, or next generation of active stealth technologies.
These projects come on top of the 15 others research projects already financed since 2017 through the PADR and the upcoming direct support to two large-scale projects, European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (MALE RPAS) – Eurodrone and ESSOR.
Key elements of the EC announcement:
+ In total, 441 entities applied to EDIDP calls, contributing to 40 proposals. 223 entities from 16 proposals will be supported by EDIDP;
+ EDIDP projects cover participants from 24 Member States;
+ SMEs represent 37% of the total number of entities receiving funding (83 SMEs) from EDIDP;
+ EDIDP selected proposals entail on average 14 entities from seven Member States;
+ Nine proposals financed under EDIDP are PESCO projects;
+ EDIDP proposals are consistent with the key capability priorities agreed by Member States at European level through the Capability Development Plan;
+ EDIDP results demonstrate the possibility to involve EU-based subsidiaries controlled by third countries or third country entities provided they fulfil appropriate security-based guarantees approved by Member States. This is namely the case with four participants controlled by entities from Canada, Japan and the United States;
+ PADR for the first time is supporting three projects dedicated to disruptive technologies through dedicated calls, designed to prepare the future EDF, which allocates up to 8% of its budget to disruptive actions.
The European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), worth €500 million for 2019-2020, and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), which has a budget of €90 million for 2017-2019, are pilot programmes of the upcoming European Defence Fund. The PADR covers the research phase of defence products, including disruptive technologies, while EDIDP supports collaborative projects related to development, from design up to prototypes.
DECISMAR – Development of a Decision Support Toolbox for enhancing the feasibility study of the Upgrade of
Maritime Surveillance through the integration of legacy assets with new innovative solutions.
The objective of the DECISMAR project is to develop a decision support toolbox (DSTx), implemented as a cyber-secured and future-proofed integrated IT environment. The DSTx will provide a dynamic and interactive approach for conducting feasibility studies which aim to support the upgrade of maritime surveillance under the scope of both current and future defined High-Level Operational Requirements (HLORs) of the PESCO Project Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance.
DRONEDGE-E – Design of an edge computing platform for the autonomous control of swarms of drones in real-time with no single point of failure, automatic generation of algorithms through artificial intelligence.
The DRONEDGE E project proposes to transfer an existing 3D swarm simulator to the real world implemented on actual fixed-wing drones. DRONEDGE E will study the feasibility of a novel architecture, which can be applied to unmanned air systems (UAS) as well as hybrid systems.
ECYSAP (European Cyber Situational Awareness Platform)
The main objective of the ECYSAP project is to develop and implement of innovative theoretical foundations, methods, research prototypes and their integration towards providing a European operational platform for enabling real-time Cyber Situational Awareness with rapid response defensive capabilities and decision-making support for military end-users.
An integrated and modular Cyber Situational Awareness (CSA) picture for National/European security purposes and military expeditionary operations will be developed, which shall become a real time defensive system capable of cyber response, automated and deployable in the same area of operations (National/European) interconnected between envisaged and identified intelligent nodes.
ESC2 (European Strategic Command and Control)
The proposal covers the development of the advanced European Strategic Command and Control (C2) system, which will contribute to the achievement of the EU new level of ambition. The foreseen activities include a feasibility study and a system design. They will provide an integrated set of solutions, exploiting the emerging technologies in key domains such as the Information Technology and Communication Systems. The project aims at delivering a C2 system fully interoperable with the Command and Control structures / systems from EU, Member States, NATO, and civilian agencies.
EUDAAS – European Detect and Avoid (DAA) function based on new sensors and processing for RPAS integration into air-traffic management
The EUDAAS project will develop and validate a 100% European Detect And Avoid (DAA) solution for safe insertion of large military Remotely-Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) in the European air traffic so that RPAS can operate along with other manned and unmanned aircraft. EUDAAS will also increase the maturity of non-cooperative sensors, to enable the use of RPAS in a much wider and flexible way than currently possible.
The project addresses the current user needs by focusing on specific use cases such as the European MALE RPAS.
FITS4TOP (Future Integrated Training Solution for TOP gun)
The project is aiming at delivering a European wide solution that is an Integrated Training System (with an emphasis on Live, Virtual, Constructive and the Interactive Multimedia Instruction), responding to Initial Common Requirements of member states supporting the project and adaptable to future customers’ needs. The solution will be able to integrate different operational scenarios involving air, ground and maritime forces.
The consortium will deliver a study on the upgrade of the entire training path and related assets in line with the evolution of military pilots training concepts and exploiting the use of new technologies (e.g. Embedded Simulation, Augmented Reality, AR). It will also provide a study on the training aircraft with a Light Combat Capabilities as secondary role.
GEODE (Galileo for EU Defence)
GEODE will prototype, test and qualify multiple Galileo PRS enabled Positioning, Navigation and Timing( PNT) navigation solutions for defence specific requirements and applications (7 PRS Security Modules, 9 PRS receivers, 4 GPS/Galileo PRS compatible Controlled Radiation Pattern Antennas) and a European PNT test & Qualification Facility.
A PRS infrastructure will also be developed to ensure the availability of the security assets necessary for the operational testing of the receivers. Military operational field-testing will be organised on Naval and Land platforms, RPAS, Timing and Synchronisation system in multiple Member States.
iMUGS (Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System)
The project will develop a modular and scalable architecture for hybrid manned-unmanned systems in order to address a large range of missions and to enable easy update or modification of assets and functionalities within the system: aerial and ground platforms, command, control and communication equipment, sensors, payloads and algorithms. For demonstrating the features of the project, the prototype will be based on an existing unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and a specific list of payloads.
LOTUS (Low Observable Tactical Unmanned air System)
The LOTUS project will address feasibility, detailed design, prototyping and testing of a low-observable, airworthy and interoperable tactical RPAS system, targeted at ISR missions. The development will include: a mothership TRPAS equipped with ISR sensors, designed for low observability and high endurance, incorporating a self-protection system against enemy threats; a system of tube-launched, foldable-wing drones, deployable from the mothership, while this later remains at a safe distance; on-board sensor data processing capabilities for target detection, recognition, identification and classification; and a ground station.
The project aims to define a preliminary concept of operations for a Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) European capability and demonstrate it through a full scale firing campaign. The project consists of a land missile system, a turret system to support and set up the missile using an UAV for target designation, a land platform, and an UAV providing a cyber-secured target location.
OPTISSE (Very high resolution OPTIcal paylod for Small Satellites for defencE applications)
The project OPTISSE will perform a feasibility study and a preliminary design of innovative technologies for a cost-effective highperformance Earth Observation payload for small satellites. The technologies include a multispectral and miniaturised optical imager with very high resolution, image processing algorithms, a satellite subsystem for features tracking and a satellite subsystem for high-rate data transmission.
PANDORA – Cyber Defence Platform for Real-time Threat Hunting, Incident Response and Information Sharing
The PANDORA project aims at contributing to EU cyber defence capacity building, by designing and implementing an open technical solution for real-time threat hunting and incident response, focusing on endpoint protection, as well as information sharing. The PANDORA system aims also to promptly detect and classify known and unknown threats, enforce policies on-the-fly to counter these threats, and also exchange threat intelligence information with third parties, at both national and international level. The technical solution developed in PANDORA will be integrated and assessed in a pre-operational environment against two relevant use cases: warship security and military sensor network security.
PEONEER (Persistent Earth Observation for actioNable intElligence survEillance and Reconnaissance)
PEONEER addresses feasibility studies, design, prototype and testing of a software platform, which will implement the Activity Based Intelligence (ABI) concept to complement the geo spatial activities by integrating data from multiple sources to discover relevant patterns, determine and identify changes, and characterize those patterns to drive collection and create decision advantage. The software platform will support geo-intelligence analysts in the following tasks: definition of suitable satellite and non-satellite data collection strategy to carry out ABI tasks; automatic extraction and recognition of features, entities and motion information through artificial intelligence techniques; definition of workflows for ABI for sea and land applications to improve decision making processes.
REACT (Responsive Electronic Attack for Cooperative Task)
The project aims at providing a design for Air Electronic Attack Capability (AEAC) and allowing European Union air forces to conduct operations in a contested anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment responding to low-frequency radars challenges and countering new sophisticated threats in Electromagnetic Spectrum of Operations. Ultimately this capability will be developed in form of POD’s (mainly for ESCORT operations) and on board of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (mainly for stand-in operations).
SEA DEFENCE (Survivability, Electrification, Automation, Detectability, Enabling Foresight of European Naval Capabilities in Extreme Conditions)
SEA Defence project will conduct a feasibility study in order to prepare a roadmap of technologies to be included in next generation of naval platforms and pursued in further European development programs. The study will address the following issues: lower detectability; higher survivability against modern surface and subsurface threats including against high-speed threats and swarming threats; reduction of ship motions; improved electric power generation and storage; capability to operate in extreme climates; topside; and increased autonomy and automation.
For each area, the state of the art will be mapped and the impact of ship integration on capabilities, budget and interfaces will be assessed. Recommendations will be provided to realize innovations ready for the next generation naval platforms from their design or during their lifetime.
SMOTANET (Development of Software Defined Mobile Ad-hoc Tactical Network Devices and Testbed)
The objectives of the proposed action is to design a modular, adaptive and secure tactical network. To achieve this, the SMOTANET project will:
– Design tactical devices that integrate three different technologies, namely, Software Defined Radio (SDR), Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (MANET) and Software Defined Networks (SDN).
– Develop testbeds based on the aforementioned devices that will be used to test and evaluate operational scenarios and the corresponding technical solutions according to well defined metrics.
The testbeds will realize representative tactical scenarios, they will implement controller-to-controller, controller-to-switch, and switch-to-switch links and will ultimately unite them in a holistic network-wide network control architecture managed by SDN controllers.
The Studies will deliver operational scenarios and technical requirements in cooperation with the Greek and Cyprus MoDs. The Design Activities will deliver the design specifications of the controller and the switch as well as a testbed that can evaluate the performance of relative networks under realistic conditions.
Selected PADR Proposals:
CROWN (European Active electronically scanned Array (AESA) with Combined Radar, Communications, and Electronic Warfare functions for military applications)
CROWN will design, develop and test a compact, lightweight multi-function radiofrequency system prototype integrating radar, electronic warfare and communication in one single system, without any end-user restrictions. Possessing this technology is key for knowing how and why the electromagnetic spectrum is used in a combat, ensuring that our military can use it as they need it and deny it to adversaries.
AIDED (Artificial Intelligence for Detection of Explosive Devices)
AIDED will use a set of state of the art Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms able to identify unconventional (Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs) and conventional (buried mines) explosive devices, and autonomously plan offline and run-time missions plans. It will also provide positioning, navigation and mapping to control a fleet of robots that cooperate quickly to identify a safe passage in a high-risk area.
QUANTAQUEST Quantum Secure Communication and Navigation for European Defence)
The project will develop quantum sensing for navigation and timing without relying on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and quantum communication to secure Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR).
PILUM (Projectiles for Increased Long-range effects Using Electro-Magnetic railgun)
The electromagnetic railgun (EMRG) is a disruptive technology to launch projectiles over extremely long distance (more than 200 km) and a potential operational game-changer, thanks to electromagnetic acceleration instead of chemical propellants. The project lays the foundation for achieving a full-scale demonstrator by 2028.
ARTUS (Autonomous Rough-terrain Transport UGV Swarm)
ARTUS project will demonstrate the feasibility of an intelligent small swarm of (3 to 12) Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) that will closely follow a platoon in various terrains. It will be capable to dynamically react to changing mission scenarios on its path. The swarm greatly changes the soldiers’ capacity as it carries major logistical supply of the troops, including nutrition, ammunition and special gear, through harsh environments, including densely wooded or sloped areas. The swarm of UGVs could also carry wounded soldiers.
OPTIMISE (Innovative Positioning system for defence in GNSS-denied areas)
OPTIMISE is about autonomous positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) and proposes a novel architecture to fuse data from different sensors and signals. The project should improve positioning, navigation and timing in areas without access to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
INTERACT (Interoperability Standards for Unmanned Armed Forces Systems)
INTERACT aims to create a basis for a future European interoperability standard for military unmanned systems. The technical knowledge and operational experience available in Europe on control, monitoring, and application of unmanned systems will be integrated for the concept definition of a future European cross-industry interoperability standard. This standard will allow unmanned assets to be deployed flexibly in different configurations, such as singular deployment, in manned-unmanned teaming (MUMT) or as autonomous swarms independent of organizational or national provenance.