Slovakia’s EuroArtillery Indirect Fire Support(IFS) project has been selected for the final EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects in the field of security and defence.
Triggering considerable interest by the PESCO participating countries, it was selected from among the 49 PESCO related project proposals for the final top 17 PESCO projects, which will be implemented in Phase I. Italy has declared its preliminary intention to join the IFS project, with a number of countries showing their ambition to join as observers, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
The statement from Slovak MOD said that it is seeking to encourage the partners to the extent that they join the project as fully fledged members. The SVK MOD will also continue its efforts to look for new relevant partners.
In his response to the inclusion of the Indirect Fire Support project into the PESCO package of projects, SVK Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš said: “The fact that we proposed our own project that has made into the finale is testament to Slovakia’s active membership in the EU. With this Slovakia has demonstrated that we are not only trying to participate in, but also to co-create the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.”
The Slovak Republic notified its intention to participate in PESCO at the Council of the EU on 13 November 2017. Based on the decision of EU Member States, the PESCO initiative is to be launched officially on 11 December 2017.
The EU Member States which have so far signed up for PESCO have also agreed to fulfil 20 common binding commitments ensuing from their participation in PESCO. At the core of them is, inter alia, to jointly develop the defence capabilities of the participating Member States, with a view to strengthening their compatibility and interoperability. As a result, this should lead to intensifying and streamlining their mutual cooperation. One of the PESCO commitments is to take part in least one multinational project to be developed under PESCO.
The aim of the “EuroArtillery – Indirect Fire Support”project is to develop a Mobile Long-Range Precision Artillery Platform, including a fire control system to achieve coordination of weapon systems in multinational operations.
Slovakia’s modernisation of the Self-Propelled Artillery Unit and further R&D of a complex artillery fire control system are among the development priorities of the SVK Armed Forces. At the same time, these areas of interest represent an opportunity for greater involvement of the Slovak defence industry in multinational PESCO projects. In this way the SVK MOD seeks, amongst others, to deliver on one of the SVK Government Manifesto Commitments to support the country’s defence industry.