News and activities


EDTA annual report 2017 released

posted 3 May 2018, 03:35 by Jan Wind   [ updated 3 May 2018, 03:39 ]

Below you can download the 2017 annual report of the Federation.

Most relevant activities of the federation were: 
  1. Publish comments on major European defence related policiy documents
    in 2017 we published comments on the:
    - EC communication on the launching of the European Defence Fund,
    - Reflection paper on the future of European Defence

  2. Continued cooperation with our partner EuroDefense 
    in 2017 we published a joint report on Cooperative military education, training and simulation.

  3. Distribute invitations of (inter)national relevant activities among member- and partner associations.

EC needs experts for the Preparatory Action Defence Research (PADR) programme

posted 6 Mar 2018, 14:04 by Jan Wind   [ updated 31 May 2018, 15:35 ]

The first European defence technology research programme of the European Commission (EC) is being started. In the next three years 90 million euro is available for applied research. The first calls have been submitted and grants were awarded. More calls will follow in the near future.

In cooperation with the European Defence Agency the European Commission searches for experts to evaluate project proposals under the Preparatory Action Defence Research (PADR) programme. More about this call for experts can be found in the EC document below. In this document you will also find rules and procedures to apply as expert.

The application procedure is quite cumbersome and takes quite some time and effort. 
Do not forget to check the PADR programme in the programme selection step of your application.

Answer to most questions can be found on the experts page of the European Commission. 
This is also the starting page for your application.

Picture: Pixabay CC0

Call for participation in EU study on cross border SME participation in R&D

posted 21 Feb 2018, 02:31 by Jan Wind   [ updated 21 Feb 2018, 02:52 ]

For some years, the issue of cross-border activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the defense sector is on the agenda of the European Commission (EC). Compared to other sectors in the economy SMEs in the defence industry are very much locked into their own nation. The EC does not have a clear view of the causes and potential solutions for this lack of cross-border activities.

As EDTA we addressed this issue late 2016 in our comments to the "European Defence Action Plan":
"The observation in the European Defence Action Plan that innovation and disruptive technological shifts are performed in eco systems of start-ups and SMEs is true in many sectors of the economy, but much less in the defence industry. .... If the Commission intends to stimulate participation of SMEs in the European Defence Technology Industrial Base (EDTIB ) these issues should be addressed."

Our wishes have been answered:
The EC has contracted a study to tackle this problem. The study is being executed by 'Europe Economics' in Londen.

You could contribute to this study and support the EC to develop and adopt policies to increase cross border SME participation in our industry. Please download the invitation below and contact Mr. Sam Winward of Europe Economics directly. T: +44 207 269 2654; E: sam.winward@europe-economics.com

Netherlands government adopts EDTA/ED cooperative education and training concept

posted 10 Oct 2017, 06:24 by Jan Wind   [ updated 22 Oct 2017, 11:53 ]

Today the new Netherlands Government revealed their intentions for the next four years. In their overall strategy document the EDTA/EuroDefense concept on cooperative education and training has been adopted. 

The Coalition Agreement reads in one out of nine paragraphs on Defence policy (translated): 

The Cabinet aims to continue bilateral and European cooperation in the areas of joint procurement of capabilities, development of joint education and training programmes and pooling of existing military equipment.





EDTA and EURODEFENSE report on cooperative military education, training and simulation

posted 27 Sep 2017, 00:58 by Jan Wind   [ updated 29 Sep 2017, 07:51 ]

View or Download report.

European defence cooperation on education, training and simulation has many important advantages to enhance skills, share European military culture for our military men and women, and reduce costs. The importance of cooperative training and the intention to make training an element of the permanent structured cooperation has been agreed in the Lisbon Treaty. This intention was reinforced in more recent papers on European cooperation like the EU global strategy for defence and security, but omitted in the European Defence Fund. Simulation technology for training was never mentioned. 
Hence, we believe cooperation on military education, training and simulation needs more attention. 

Members of EURODEFENSE and EDTA associations in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and the UK collectively have compiled a brief report on the most important potential areas of cooperation as well as technological and funding opportunities. 

Main conclusions of the report are that cooperative education and training steeply improves procedural and cultural interoperability in the European armed forces. It promotes similar responses to the same situation and facilitates mutual understanding, integration and team building. For individual military men and women it builds lifelong personal networks that will help them to better understand their fellow Europeans. Technical developments have made simulation more realistic than actual training and exercises in many cases. 

Recommendations are: 

1. Stimulate European education exchange programmes throughout all Member States. Especially in regions with overlapping cultures and bridgeable language barriers. 

2. Better organise training throughout Europe. Actual training and exercising should be integrated in just a few major European Commands. 

3. Realistic training using advanced simulation systems should be stimulated Europe wide and a European technological advantage in this area should be pursued. 

4. Some simulated training can only be performed in large and complex facilities. These could be established by private funding and their use shared between military and other users on a pay-per-use basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                Photo; MoD NL











PESCO, industry and technology

posted 6 Sep 2017, 02:32 by Jan Wind   [ updated 25 Sep 2017, 15:31 ]

It seems that the plans revolving around PESCO stimulate intentions for requirements harmonisation and synchronisation as well as a stronger urge to stimulate European technological independence by a buy European policy.

From a technological perspective I have a few doubts whether this policy will be as effective as is promoted:

A. Europe should be very careful to focus on strict harmonisation and synchronisation of requirements. This has a few positive effect, but also quite negative consequences:

  1. Technology and systems development will tend to focus on a specific harmonised project rather than being a gradual flow of developments. This means that peaks – and  deep valleys – in development may occur. These peaks are focused on a specific harmonised project and neglect other technology developments that may be very important. 

  2. Harmonised technologies will lead to specialisation and monopolies. Companies or technologies with a slightly different approach will be moved out of business due to lack of contracts and work. It is important for Europe to retain a certain diversity in industry and technological solutions. 

  3. Harmonised technology used by all Member States can only be produced by large companies and push all – much desired - activities in SMEs and other small companies out of business. 

For these reasons we have advocated so called “asynchronous development” in our comments on the recent reflection paper of the Commission. This modular approach allows industries to develop smaller sized (sub)systems that can be used and replaced side by side with similar (sub)systems. This will cause a more gradual technology development and regular technology updates in systems. It will also enable SMEs and larger companies in all member states to compete and provide our forces with excellent technology. We need to retain some diversity in European technologies.


B. Europe should be very careful to strive for technological independence with a “buy European” approach. While we detest this type of policy anywhere else in the world, we should not copy this into Europe. This will lead to isolation and polarization within NATO and other alliances. It also will lock us Europeans out of information on scientific and technology developments elsewhere. That would be devastating for science.
European strategic autonomy should be based on the ability to be independent, technologically more advanced and competitive, but should not inherently stimulate isolation.

Jan Wind
President EDTA



EDTA comments on the Reflection paper on the future of European Defence

posted 12 Aug 2017, 12:37 by Jan Wind   [ updated 14 Aug 2017, 12:55 ]

On 7 June 2017 the European Commission publicised a reflection paper regarding the future of European Defence. The paper describes three scenarios for continued integration of defence planning, capability development and operations.

1. General comments
The Federation of European Defence Technology Associations (EDTA) welcomes yet another important paper on defence cooperation as it could establish a basis for future reference when cooperative activities are being contemplated. The paper however only describes goals and intentions. It does not even hint on routes to reach the goals. More importantly, it does not indicate which national or European bodies or institutions would take decisions in each of the scenarios.

It is necessary to have at least a view on potential routes to the goals of this Reflection paper. Otherwise, it will remain a dream as so many other plans for defence cooperation.

Page 5, 3rd paragraph, “In 2016, national governments stepped up their response to pressing security threats and the concerns of their citizens. Defence budgets were increased accordingly.” seems to become the understatement of the year after over 20 years of downtrend.
Pag 6, the last paragraph: “Economies of scale matter more than ever to improve effectiveness and efficiency.” Is not necessarily true: in some cases it could be more efficient, but it is often not more effective1.

2. Capability perspective: decision power
In the current intended level of European integration, quite comparable with scenario “A”, all decisive power lies within the member states. These will primarily decide on planning, capability development and operations based on their national priorities. In scenario B and C many of these decisions will be taken by European Institutions, like the Commission, the EU Parliament, EDA and a (new) dedicated European Defence Research Agency (page 14).
This is not necessarily bad for a Union moving slowly towards further integration, but the key lies with who defines requirements, who takes decisions and who pays the bills. When these elements are not balanced cooperation will fail. More in particular, when the power to decide is taken away from Member States, they will be reluctant to allocate national funding through the European Defence Fund.

The EDTA recommends developing an incentive or other solution to overcome or soften this loss of national autonomy. Lack of a solution will block the route to both scenario B and C.

3. Need for harmonisation of requirements and planning
Joint requirements, joint acquisition, budget coordination and synchronisation over long periods will be crucial for scenario B and C to be successful. For most Member States, this will be the most important change in their attitude. National variants like in the NH90, or budget shifts to suit the needs of a new elected parliament will not be possible anymore. Neither will it be possible any more to actively support a national technological and industry base.
This need for harmonisation, coordination and synchronisation is mentioned in the description of scenario B. The intention is however difficult to realise as long as investment decisions and definitions of needs and priorities remain in the hands of the Member States2.

To stimulate harmonisation and synchronisation the EDTA recommends to establish a “European Requirements and Synchronisation Evaluation Office or board”.

This entity should review requirements before submission in a public tender and provide recommendations for harmonisation3 and synchronisation4. Recommendations could include potential cost savings. Options for common life cycle support could be evaluated too.
Follow-up of Member States to these recommendations would be voluntary, but could be an element of rating for EU funding from the European Defence Fund in the future.

4. European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB): specialisation
Much has to be done for cooperation to become the norm. In scenarios B and C, European organisations will coordinate and decide over planning and procurement.
Joint acquisition will lead to industrial specialisation. Not all research facilities and companies in Member States will be able to survive competition. This could – in the end – lead to monopolies.

The EDTA recommends to develop a European policy to retain a certain level of diversity in the defence research and capability sector.

It would be effective to concentrate activities in only a few centres of excellence in the EU. Two or three centres of excellence in each area of technology would suffice. These should compete, but mainly based on scientific excellence. Regardless ownership all Member States and the European commission should have unrestricted access to these facilities.
In our view this unavoidable shakeout of national facilities should not be effectuated by commercial competition. We believe that a more fundamental restructuring of technological and industrial capabilities across the Union based on technological excellence is important. To ascertain European technological independency the resulting facilities are of “strategic” value and should be protected from undesired external takeovers[5].

5. Technological drivers
On page 7 a few new and advanced technologies are listed that are relevant for the defence sector. Big data, cloud technology, unmanned vehicles, artificial intelligence and CBRN are mentioned.
Several of the technologies we mentioned in our comments to the technology focus of the EU global strategy paper of June 2016 are now also mentioned in the reflection paper. Still missing are: advanced sensors; command & control; low probability of intercept communication; advanced materials; kinetic interceptors and advanced training facilities.
In addition we would like to mention technological means for intelligence gathering (SIGINT, COMINT, IMINT, etc.). The lack of these means was felt strongly in recent EU missions.

The EDTA recommends to apply the incentive of a EU contribution to capability development only for technologies urgently needed for lacking capabilities. Technologies needed to ensure and retain strategic autonomy are of secondary importance.

6. Summary
The most important EDTA comments on the Reflection paper on the Future of European Defence are as follows:
  1. In scenario B and C of the reflection paper many decisions on capability development will be transferred to European institutions while Member States still have to provide national funding. We recommend developing an incentive to overcome this loss of national autonomy. Lack of a solution could block the route to both scenario B and C. 

  2. Harmonisation and synchronization of capability development projects is deemed necessary for the future of European defence. To stimulate this we recommend establishing a “European Requirements and Synchronisation Evaluation Office or board”. 

  3. Cooperation should become the norm in the EU. In scenarios B and C this could however lead to industrial monopolies. We recommend developing a European policy to retain a certain level of diversity in the defence research and capability development sector. 

  4. Future EU contributions to technology development seem to be focused on the need of European technological autonomy. We recommend shifting this focus to technology and capabilities urgently needed for lacking capabilities. 

The Hague, 17 August 2017
Questions? Please contact EDTA president Jan Wind at E: jw@fedta.eu or T: +31 6 2350 2003 



[1] See a.o. Edward A. Kolodziej ,”Making and Marketing Arms: The French Experience and Its Implications for the International System”, page 150, (Princeton Legacy Library) July 14, 2014.
[2] Communication on the European Defence Fund page 3
[3] It should be noted that full harmonization is often not necessary. Harmonisation at subsystem level is often just as effective.
[4] Private bridge financing (see Communication on the European Defence fund, page 13) will help to overcome budget synchronisation gaps, but only on a temporary basis.
[5] Not only “hostile” takeovers as mentioned in scenario C. A takeover considered friendly by a company and their shareholders could be undesired from a European strategic perspective.


Disclaimer: Facts and opinions in this document are based on open sources and on the knowledge and experience of individual members of EDTA member-associations. This is not an official view of any of the member associations. The federation accepts no legal responsibility for what has been put forward by their members.

EDTA comments on the launching of the European Defence Fund

posted 12 Aug 2017, 03:14 by Jan Wind   [ updated 14 Aug 2017, 13:39 ]

On 7 June 2017 the European Commission publicised a Communication launching the European Defence Fund. This Fund aims to provide the necessary incentives for capability development and procurement at each stage of the industrial cycle. The communication describes the goals and intended means of the Fund in more detail than the previous European Defence Action Plan.

1. General comments
The Federation of European Defence Technology Associations (EDTA) welcomes the launching of the Fund, as it is another important step towards deepened European cooperation and integration in Defence.

EDTA already placed a few remarks when the Fund was announced in the European Defence Action Plan. We are glad that most, if not all, of these comments have been resolved. Some additional comments based on this more detailed Communication are given below.

2. Need for harmonisation of requirements and planning
Joint requirements, joint acquisition, budget coordination and synchronisation1 over long periods will be crucial for the fund to be successful. For most Member States this will be the most important change in their attitude. National variants like in the NH90 or budget shifts to suit the needs of a new elected parliament will not be possible anymore. Neither will it be possible any more to support a national technological and industry base.

The need for harmonisation, coordination and synchronisation is also mentioned in the description of scenario B of the reflection paper. This intention is however difficult to realise as long as investment decisions and definitions of needs and priorities remain in the hands of the Member States (see page 3). The successful examples mentioned have taken (many) years to achieve and are just a small percentage of potential cooperation.

To stimulate harmonisation and synchronisation it is recommended to establish a “European Requirements and Synchronisation Evaluation Office or board”.

This entity should review requirements before submission in a public tender and provide recommendations for harmonisation2 and synchronisation3. Recommendations could include potential cost savings. Options for common life cycle support could be evaluated too.
Follow-up of Member States to these recommendations would be voluntary, but could be an element of rating for EU funding from the European Defence Fund in the future.

3. Defence Technology spin-off
The paragraph on page 8 regarding spin-off is very important to understand the importance of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The EDTIB is not only relevant for the defence sector, but also for spin-off to other sectors of the economy. When designed effectively, many technology development projects could lead to immediate spin-off into the wider economy.

Private funding could leverage government funds when potentially profitable dual-use or spin-off is taken into account from the early start of development.

4. Financial incentive for capability development
Although only mentioned in the accompanying pamphlets of the Communication a financial incentive for cooperation is promised. A budget perspective 500 M€ European Commission funding for capability development attracts the interest of many programmes, even while considerable (on average 90%) contributions by the Member States remain necessary in the current concept.
Capability development is however a process of many phases and increasing costs. Starting with project definition followed by design, development and finally industrialisation phases.
In the first project-definition phase, decisions with the most impact on the costs and capabilities of the final product are taken. In this phase also the opportunities for future cooperation become clear. This is the least costly phase with the highest financial risk.
In the following design- development- and industrialisation phases the initial decisions will be used, often by many contractors and subcontractors, until the systems and subsystems are ready for production.

To stimulate European cooperation it would be effective to focus EC funding on the first phase of each project. The lower cost of this stage of a project would allow for more projects to be supported and for a higher contribution percentage.

5. Financial Toolbox
The toolbox mentioned on page 12 with standardised templates and tools for financing is an interesting initiative. A fixed toolbox based on assumptions could however be counterproductive. Financing of technology and capabilities other than through regular government funding is a very complex matter, has many options and depends on even more parameters. Particularly when private funds are involved. It is impossible to fit these all in templates, procedures and standards.

We recommend establishing a support office capable to advise Member States and companies on cooperative and private financial matters based on knowledge and experience gained in member states and in the financial sector.

6. Summary
The most important EDTA comments to the Communication on the European Defence Fund are as follows: 
  1. Harmonisation and synchronization of capability development projects is deemed necessary for the effectiveness of the fund. To stimulate this we recommend establishing a “European Requirements and Synchronisation Evaluation Office or board”.
     
  2. Technology spin-off into the wider economy is a very important element of defence research and capability development. When considering potentially profitable spin-off from the early start of development, private funding could also participate. Consequently, the need to use defence budget would be less. 

  3. The most important technical and cooperation decisions of a major capability development project are taken in the early stages. This is also the least costly phase of capability development. As the EC contribution is still limited, we recommend focusing EC funding on the first phase of each project. This would allow supporting more projects and a higher contribution percentage. 

  4. A financial toolbox with templates and tools will be developed for funding of capability development projects. Financing of technology and capabilities other than through regular single government funding is however a very complex matter. We recommend establishing a knowledge office capable to provide advice on cooperative and private financial matters. 
The Hague, 17 August 2017 
Questions? Please contact EDTA president Jan Wind at E: jw@fedta.eu or T: +31 6 2350 2003 


-----------------------
[1] Private bridge financing (see page 13) may help to overcome budget synchronisation gaps, but only on a temporary basis.
[2] It should be noted that full harmonization is often not necessary. Harmonisation at subsystem level is often just as effective.
[3] Private bridge financing (see page 13) will help to overcome budget synchronisation gaps, but only on a temporary basis.

Disclaimer: Facts and opinions in this document are based on open sources and on the knowledge and experience of individual members of EDTA member-associations. This is not an official view of any of the member associations. The federation accepts no legal responsibility for what has been put forward by their members.

9 nov 2017 | Save the date to Reach out! - Conference on REACH

posted 11 Aug 2017, 08:26 by Jan Wind   [ updated 11 Aug 2017, 08:27 ]

In cooperation with the German MoD our fellow member association DWT organises an important international conference on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). The conference will be held on 9 November 2017 in Bonn.

Download below a preliminary leaflet on the conference.

All details will be made available by 6 September on the DWT website: https://www.dwt-sgw.de




EDTA annual report released

posted 20 Mar 2017, 01:28 by Jan Wind   [ updated 20 Mar 2017, 01:29 ]

Below you can download the 2016 annual report of the Federation.

Most relevant activities of the federation were:
  1. Develop and publish comments on major European defence related policy documents from a technological perspective, 
  2. Further development of partnership with EuroDefense, signed in 2015, 
  3. Distribute invitations of (inter)national relevant activities among members.

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