European Defence Fund

 European Defence Fund

Copyright Ministerie van Defensie

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has issued the following position paper, outlining its priorities for the European Defence Industrial Programme (EDIDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) 2021-2027. This helps organisations involved in research and developing products and services for the safety and security market in their strategic decision-making. The paper is presented in its entirety. Further information: Linda van Duivenbode


Position paper of The Netherlands on Capability Development and Research and Technology

The Netherlands strongly supports the Commission’s ambition to facilitate the development of a stronger European defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB) by strengthening the Defence Single Market, reducing unnecessary capability duplications and improving the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation of the EU defence industry by working cooperatively on reducing the Defence capability shortfalls in Europe. The Netherlands is pleased with the political agreement  between the Council and the European Parliament. This political compromise should not be re-opened, and our focus should now be at the implementation of the EDF.

The Netherlands supports EU cooperation for capability driven research and development, thereby reducing costs and improving effectiveness and interoperability. Simultaneously, the Netherlands underlines the need to develop critical technologies. They will provide us with long term competitiveness as well as the ability to defend ourselves against emerging technological threats.  The working programmes under the EDF should reflect topics that will strengthen the competitiveness and innovation of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base as much as possible. The working programs should also support the implementation of the Capability Development Plan (CDP), reducing identified European capability shortfalls.

The Netherlands considers that the topics mentioned below should be included in the working programmes under the EDF. The Netherlands will also be interested as participant to other projects supporting EU and Dutch defence capabilities priorities including projects that are supported under PESCO.

Capability Development

The Netherlands is currently identifying themes that would give added value to the EDF-objective and that would fit our National planning as well as future requirements, industrial and research institutes capacities. This preliminary list will be refined over time and more detailed when needed. Not prejudging any further decisions, we would like to share with you our list of EDF themes below.
The list does not include the topics that other countries probably propose (larger projects such as FCAS, Eurodrone or MGCS). For those topics we would like to find and agree on ways to establish a genuine European supply chain including innovative SMEs. NL research and technology organizations and defence and security companies can make a high quality contribution to these larger programs.

The Netherlands suggest to have these topics incorporated in the scoping paper / work programme as much as is appropriate. Netherlands is willing to further explain or clarify any questions you may have. We will share our ideas also with other MS in order to look for cooperation / coalitions of the willing.

  1. Maritime domain
    1. Further strengthening the maritime domain in order to support EDTIB.
    1. Aspects like structure, propulsion, hydrodynamics, management systems, signatures, survivability, integrated sensor/weapon/platform systems, information & data, energy reduction, top deck design.

  • Sensor Networking
    • Sensor networking combining technologies (radar, laser, optic, acoustic, data, etc.), application (sea, land, air, space, combined) and usage (cross domain info exchange).
    • Aspect like information superiority, situational awareness/understanding, networking, sensor fusion, data/anomaly/threat analysis, weapon assignment.

  • Cyber
    • Securing information and infrastructure as part of European defence and securing vital interests.

  • Remote Autonomous Systems (sea, air, land)
    • Intelligence to perform, in combination with manned and unmanned systems
    • Aspects like force multiplier, data processing, situational understanding, sensing/acting, meaningful human control.

  • Enhance Logistics / Future Base
    • Logistic chain being vital but costly in operations, exercise, training. Enhanced logistics will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the logistic chain and reduce dependency of frequently and costly transport to the training or mission area and vice versa. A future base fits in this chain by its focus on saving water, energy, waste, logistics and protection.
    • Aspects like health and usage monitoring systems, new materials, reconfiguration, modelling, energy, water, waste, footprint, 3/4D printing, remote support.

  • Human Factors, protection & medical
    • Performance related to heat, cold, physical load, complex task.
    • Protection of the individual soldier, sailor, airman.
    • Recovery of the individual soldier, sailor, airman.
    • Aspects like monitoring, food, well-being, mind-set, moral, CBRN, equipment, healing, human-machine teaming, psychological aid, combat lifesaving.

  • Rapid development, education & training
    • Usage of simulation, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence to enhance effectivity whilst shorten trajectories and costs.
    • Aspects like modelling, unsought solutions, fault reduction, safety, testing, modifying.

Defence Research

The Netherlands attaches great value to strengthen research within the EDTIB in order to build the knowledge necessary for the development of future defence systems, as well as to support industry to deliver state of the art technologies. With respect to the future research programs in the EDF the Netherlands have identified and prioritised ten technology research areas. That has been done taking into account relevant European policy documents, in particular the EU Capability Development Priorities, as well as the PADR results. In total ten technology research areas have been prioritised:

  1. Cyber and EW.
  2. Man-Machine Teaming.
  3. Simulation & Training, Design.
  4. CBRN Protection.
  5. Directed Energy Weapons.
  6. Platforms.
  7. Space.
  8. Counter-Drone.
  9. Logistical and Medical Support.
  10. Critical and Cross-domain Technologies.

These areas have been selected in close cooperation with the three NL Defence Research and Technology Organisations (RTO’s) MARIN, NLR and TNO. These RTO’s are responsible for developing and maintaining the required knowledge base for the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and the NL Armed Forces. Existing and planned national defence research programs provide a solid basis for international cooperation in the EDF.

Each key technology research area is made up of several more research topics. They are specified in a separate document (“The NL priorities for EDF defence research”).  This document also outlines the links with NATO’s Science & Technology Collaborative Program of Work as well as the EDA CAPTECHs. They may offer opportunities for synergies.

The NL have included references to the relevant Technology Building Blocks (TBB’s) in the aforementioned document. We have mentioned the TBB’s because they have been agreed by the EU Member States, after being developed by the EDA with the support of the member states. The European Commission is suggested to refer to the TBB’ s when drafting the work program and publishing the calls. This will create a common understanding of defence technologies throughout the Member States, as well as enable efficient and effective interaction between the various stakeholders.The 

Linda van Duivenbode

Related post