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Europe announces €525m in funding for defence projects
The MALE RPAS will receive €100m in funding. © Airbus

Europe announces €525m in funding for defence projects

The funding, which includes €100m for the MALE RPAS, is earmarked for precursor programmes for the European Defence Fund.

The European Commission is providing €500m in co-financing for the joint development of defence capabilities during 2019-2020 through the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). This will focus on areas including drone technology, satellite communication, early warning systems, artificial intelligence, cyberdefence or maritime surveillance.

A further €25m have been earmarked to support collaborative defence research projects in 2019, with calls for proposals launched today.

EDIDP is one of two precursor programmes to the planned €13bn European Defence Fund which aims to foster an innovative and competitive European defence industrial base and contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy from 2021 onwards. The other precursor is the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) programme, now in its third year.

Under the EDIDP work programme, the Commission will publish 9 calls for proposals for 2019, and 12 further calls will follow for 2020.

These calls will cover priority areas in all domains – air, land, sea, cyber and space:

- Enabling operations, protection and mobility of military forces: €80m is available to help develop CBRN threat detections capabilities or counter drone systems;

- Intelligence, secured communication & Cyber: €182m will cover cyber situational awareness and defence, space situational awareness and early warning capabilities, or maritime surveillance capabilities;

- Ability to conduct high-end operations: €71m will support the upgrade or the development of the next generation of ground-based precision strike capabilities, ground combat capabilities, air combat capabilities and future naval systems;

- Innovative defence technologies & SMEs: €27m will support solutions in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Cyber technologies, as well as to support SMEs.

- In addition, two projects have been proposed for direct award: €100m to support the development of Europe's Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) programme (sometimes referred to as "Eurodrone"), a crucial capability for Europe's strategic autonomy, and €37m to support ESSOR interoperable and secure military communications.

The Commission has also published calls for proposals under the PADR programme, the third and final budget tranche under the Juncker Commission. The 2019 Work Programme will dedicate €25m for research in Electromagnetic Spectrum Dominance and Future Disruptive Defence Technologies — two areas identified as essential to maintain Europe's technological lead and independence in the long-term.

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