The European Defence Agency’s work in the Research & Technology domain is in line with the Agency’s mission to support Member States in their efforts to improve defence capabilities. EDA organises its R&T priorities in different Capability Technology Areas (CapTechs), which are networking fora for experts from government, industry, small and medium enterprises (SME) and academia, moderated by EDA.
Currently, the Agency holds twelve CapTechs and one related Working Group. Each of them focuses on particular technologies associated to different military domains. All CapTechs function under the responsibility of an EDA CapTech moderator.
The aim of the CapTechs is to propose R&T activities in response to agreed defence capability needs and to generate projects accordingly. All CapTechs have established technology roadmaps as part of their Strategic Research Agendas (SRA), with the objective to have technologies in place when demanded by the military side or by the Agency’s Capability Development Plan.
List of CapTechs
- CapTech Technologies, Components and Modules
CapTech Technologies, Components and Modules deals with electronic, photonic and micro mechanical technologies to enable or enhance defence applications for a wide spectrum of defence system technologies in areas such as C4ISTAR and radio frequency, microwave as well as optronic sensing. Further key enabling components technologies are micro/nano electronic circuits, System on Chip, mixed signal circuits and other transversal technologies. A main focus is on enabling technology innovation or adaption to achieve increasing functionality, performance, integration density, reliability, robustness or safety. If critical and key enabling components are not available and/or accessible –which may include design, development and production processes- the development of European supply chains through R&T measures is an issue.
- CapTech Radio Frequency Sensors Technologies
CapTech Radio Frequency Sensors Technologies deals with Sensors and Electronic Warfare Systems applying radio frequency, magnetic and electronic technology. Directed energy weapons are also addressed in the CapTech. Activities are not limited to the equipment, but also related topics are involved such as signal processing, electromagnetic propagation, signature control and reduction.
- CapTech Electro Optical Sensors Technologies
CapTech Electro Optical Sensors Technologies deals with Sensors and Electronic Warfare Systems applying electro-optical technology. Activities are not limited to the equipment, but also related topics are involved such as signal processing, laser radar technologies (including active imaging), electro-optics countermeasure, hyperspectral and multispectral imaging and image processing.
Electro-optical sensors are also relevant to many other military capabilities like CBRN stand-off detection and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
- CapTech Communication Information Systems and Networks
Communication and Information systems (CIS) are a key enabler for any crisis management operation. Supporting technologies include deployable, mobile, secure and robust broadband communication (“smart” tactical radio), with an even more robust narrowband backup. In connection with other CapTechs (components, sensors), the military user can rely on multifunctional handheld devices, and wireless networking of sensors contributes to a real time common operational picture, for improved situation awareness. Semantic technologies, man-machine and machine-machine communication help to significantly enhance decision making and reduce response times. The portfolio also includes “underpinning” technologies such as Service Oriented Architectures and management of heterogeneous information, and military “big data”. Finally, cognitive radio technology will allow to use the increasingly scarce resource of radio spectrum in a smart and efficient way.
By its nature, information and communication systems R&T includes the “cyber” dimension. Cyber Defence technologies therefore constitute a considerable part of the CapTech´s portfolio.
- CapTech Materials and Structures
CapTech Materials and Structures covers underpinning technologies to support the European armed forces on current and future challenges, specially concerning dual use research. Its projects aim to develop technology on materials and structures, production processes, test procedures and solutions that are applicable in different domains.
- CapTech Ammunition Technologies
Energetic materials that perform better and are more versatile, form the backbone in CapTech Ammunition Technologies. But equal focus is given on the systems level on munitions and missiles with a view to cover the whole maturity level including systems and technologies, aiming to attract cooperative Member States actions and investment.
- CapTech Aerial Systems
The CapTech Aerial Systems deals with the identification and prioritisation of technologies and technology gaps in the following focus areas: Autonomous Air Vehicle Operation, Cooperative Air Vehicle Operation, Detect/Sense/Avoid Systems, System Diagnostics/Fault Prognostics/Self Repair, Human-Machine-Interface/Cognitive Ergoomics, Propulsion/Power Generation and Distribution, Secure Command and Control Systems, Rotorcraft/Next Generation High Performance Vertical Lift.
To this end, the CapTech “Air” seeks cooperative solutions to prepare and conduct R&T-projects pertaining to the focus areas above.
- CapTech Ground Systems
The CapTech Ground Systems focus on technologies related to: Ground platforms, Unmanned Ground Vehicles, Soldier Systems, and Other battlefield topics including: C-IED, Mobility and Counter-Mobility and Camps. The CapTech Ground Systems address topics through a system perspective that include but not limited to fully integrated, re-configurable and up-gradable platforms and mission systems, enhanced platform and occupants survivability and protection, enhanced autonomy and ground traffic insertion of unmanned ground vehicles, enhanced agility and performance of soldier systems as well as effective protection against all IEDs and mines including IED detection and identification.
- CapTech Guidance, Navigation and Control
CapTech Guidance, Navigation and Control provides technology watch and research in the underpinning technologies for future capability needs of increased precision, localisation performance and robotisation including autonomy.
The technologies provide components to the systems CapTechs and can in the future act as conduit with the Commission where dual use synergies are possible on the component level. Example areas would be robotics, indoor navigation for first responders and aircraft guidance and control.
- CapTech Naval Systems
On the platform level, the CapTech Naval Systems covers both surface and underwater platforms including design, manufacturing, integration and life-cycle improvement. This includes R&T for improving naval platform hydrodynamics, structural and mechanical design, guidance, control, propulsion, protection and signature control. In addition, the CapTech Naval Systems addresses naval weapon systems, countermeasures and sensors (in particular underwater sensors) but also simulators and training systems for navy crews. Finally Naval Systems deals with R&T issues related to the maritime operating environment including oceanography, meteorology and acoustic and electro-magnetic propagation in air and water.
- CapTech Experimentation, System of Systems, Space, Battlelab and Modelling & Simulation
The areas of cooperation of this captech cover 3 main domains:
The Systems of Systems approach which includes the most famous one, “Space as a system”, but also methodology and tools for complex projects (System Engineering), the interoperability issues/constrains between systems, and the global safety assessment of the assembly of systems.
Another domain concern the distributed experimentations/battlelabs issued from systems or multinational doctrines developments. The tools and methods to reduce cost, by virtualizing preparation or/and execution, by sharing needs and requirements and harmonizing interfaces (connection CIS-Simu, distributed experimentations, …)
Finally, Modelling & Simulations aspects that will be the main enabler of tomorrow’s equipements. This covers Cloud functionalities, e-Training and distributed training, intelligent decision making tools and environment databases. This area opens very promising costs reduction and pooling and sharing opportunities … when IPR issues can be solved.
- CapTech CBRN and Human Factors
CapTech CBRN and human factors promotes and manages CBRN Protection research in order to enhance the technologies for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats detection, identification & monitoring (DIM) and all hazard risk management including decontamination and CBRN modelling and simulation and countermeasures.
The CapTech also provides standardisation for test and evaluation for DIM and personal protective equipment. It includes research in areas of human system integration, selection and training, personal performance tracking and enhancement, group performance and dynamics, cognitive modelling, humans in command and Cyberspace, performance under complex and severe conditions and medical support.