Only little over a year has passed since EDA was mandated by the European Commission to implement the PADR (€90 million budget for 2017-2019) but the ground covered since the signing of the Delegation Agreement between the two on 31 May 2017 is truly impressive. Flashback.


2017 Call for proposal

 The first call for proposals issued by EDA in June 2017 covered three specific domains: enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment; force protection & soldier systems; strategic technology foresight. It attracted wide interest and generated no less than 24 submissions with consortia including around 190 entities - institutes, small and medium sized enterprises and prime companies - some of them applying to various calls in different consortia.


Grant agreements

Following a thorough assessment process led by the Agency with the support of independent experts, a first grant agreement worth €0.95 million covering the strategic technology foresight ‘action’ was signed in December 2017 with a consortium led by Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A. (Italy). PYTHIA, the ‘Predictive methodology for Technology Intelligence Analysis’ project, aims to identify key trends in the fast-evolving world of innovative defence technologies.

A second grant agreement, worth €35.5 million and related to naval situational awareness technology demonstration, was signed in March 2018 with a consortium led by Leonardo S.p.A (Italy) and involving 42 partners from 15 EU countries. Ocean 2020, the largest project under the 2017 call, aims to enhance situational awareness in a maritime environment by using manned and unmanned systems and building a complete picture using many different inputs. The kick-off meeting of the Ocean 2020 project took place at EDA on 10/11 April 2018.

Last but not least, the force protection & soldier systems ‘action’ was given a go-ahead when grant agreements for three different projects were signed last April:

  • GOSSRA (Generic Open Soldier Systems Reference Architecture) which focuses on ensuring that complex system elements worn by soldiers work together. Worth roughly €1.5 million it is run by a consortium led by Rheinmetall Electronics, Germany (see interview on the right).

  • ACAMS II, worth roughly €2.6 million, develops adaptive camouflage for soldiers that protect them against sensors operating in several wavelength ranges. The consortium is led by FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

  • Vestlife (roughly €2.7 million) aims to create innovative protective clothing for soldiers that are effective for defence purposes, but lighter, more flexible and comfortable at the same time. The project consortium is led by AITEX (Spain).

The five grants agreements signed so far are worth a total of some €43 million, meaning that close to 50% of the entire PADR budget (€90 million) is already under implementation.

2018 call for proposals
The second PADR call for proposal was issued by EDA on 15 March 2018 focusing on three topics:
  • European high-performance, trustable (re)configurable system-on-a-chip or system-in-package components for defence applications (up to €12 million)

  • European high-power laser effector (up to €5.4 million)

  • Strategic technology foresight, tackling the issue of critical defence technological dependencies for the EU (overall indicative budget of €1.90 million).

Interested parties had until 28 June 2018 to submit proposals.


Lessons learned

In May, based on first lessons learned discussed between the Agency and Member States, EU Ministers of Defence welcomed EDA’s successful implementation of the PADR’s first work programme (2017) and encouraged it to pursue the identification of further lessons learned for the future EU Defence Research Programme. For EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq, “the PADR should not only be seen as a test case for a future European Defence Research Programme but also for the working together between EDA and the European Commission, as well as for the Agency’s future role in it”.

3 questions to… Dr. Thomas Weise

dr-weise-articleCan GOSSRA generate a European architecture standard that both buyers and suppliers will accept?

GOSSRA will deliver an important contribution to the future standardisation of soldier systems in Europe and NATO. Three important exercises were performed on this topic so far: EDA’s STASS1 and STASS2 studies as well as NATO investigations on joint dismounted soldier systems. GOSSRA will consolidate all results and derive from them an overall reference architecture. Unfortunately, so far, there is no military standardisation process at EU level. GOSSRA will lead to recommendations which could and should be the basis for the follow-up development of NATO’s Standardisation Agreement (STANAG) launched through the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG).

GOSSRA brings together many of Europe’s most important soldier systems companies. What makes Rheinmetall best suited to lead this group?

Rheinmetall is the largest technology and systems supplier in Europe in the land defence sector and one of the few companies in Europe which have developed a soldier system solution, being fielded by the German customer as well as in the international defence market. Rheinmetall has a longstanding experience in international cooperation in all areas of research, development, production and after sales services. In the field of R&T, Rheinmetall initiated and led a large number of collaborative projects with different international partners from industry and RTOs.

How important is this project, and collaborative European defence research in general, for Rheinmetall?

GOSSRA is one among many projects in which Rheinmetall participates in the development of a European Defence Union. Interoperability and open standards are fundamental for efficient and successful joint EU military operations. After our engagement for standardisation in the fields of Camp Protection and Land Vehicles, Rheinmetall and its partners are now pushing for the development of standards for future open architectures for soldier systems. We thereby contribute to reducing the number of defence systems in Europe which has a positive impact on the EU defence industry.