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Training of helicopter pilots, Musis, biological protection… the ministers take stock

(B2) European defense ministers, meeting on Monday (18 May), took stock of various capability projects carried out within the framework of the European Defense Agency (EDA), notably the objective of increasing the availability of helicopters and the research effort

The research effort

Defense ministers agreed on the principle of coordinating defense research efforts between the European Commission and the European Defense Agency (EDA).

Decision in November

More precise decisions will be taken next November to define a European cooperation framework, in particular the content of a coordinated research program. The candidate for this program is the “ situational awareness », from detection to command and control of networked assets. The European Defense Agency and the European Commission are already synergizing their research on a few specific projects: software-defined radio or the insertion of drones into regulated airspace.

Objective: ensure complementarity

This European security and defense cooperation framework will aim to systematically ensure the complementarity and synergy of the Agency's defense research and technology (R&T) investments with the European Commission's research investments under the Seventh Civil Research Framework Program (FP7).

Synchronize projects without common funding

« The aim is to synchronize research and enable mutual use of results, as technologies are increasingly dual-use for military and civilian operators “says Alexander Weis, Executive Director of the EDA. And to clarify: There will be no joint funding and management responsibilities in both frameworks will remain unchanged ". The coordination of investments in research between the Agency and the Commission “ will [however] save European taxpayers' money, because our actions will be concerted », Explains the High Representative and head of the European agency, Javier Solana, who chaired the meeting.

The capacity plan

Nine priority actions out of the twelve planned in the first group of priority actions of the capacity plan (CDP) have “ advanced underline the conclusions of the ministers. For most of these nine actions, strategic context cases have been developed.

Integrated roadmaps have been developed for fully cross-functional collaborative projects resulting from the links between PDC and R&T have been developed for four areas (Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MMCM), CBRN, Man-portable Anti-Aircraft Systems, Improvised Explosive Devices

The air transport fleet project

Ministers also discussed ongoing activities on the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF). A declaration of intent was signed by twelve ministers in November 2008. The concept was expanded from a built-up fleet, as initially envisaged, to a framework for aspects related to military air transport with more modular participation. The signing of a letter of intent is planned for November 2009.

Training helicopter pilots in tactical flying

The Agency's work is ongoing. In the short term, it concerns the training of pilots in operational situations. Feedback (lessons learned) allowed us to learn some lessons from the last multinational helicopter training exercise, in the French Alps in March. 20 Czech helicopter crews were thus trained to deploy to Afghanistan later this year. A training program in helicopter tactics will be launched in 2010. on this basis and thanks to a study by the agency.

Mi-17 Helicopter Upgrades

In the medium term, European projects aim to modernize and upgrade ex-Soviet Mi-17 helicopters which equip many Eastern European countries. Under the coordination of the agency, the member states concerned will now discuss cooperation models, with the aim of launching modernization projects before the end of the year.

heavy transport helicopter

Beyond 2020, a more ambitious Franco-German initiative, a 'future transport helicopter' is envisaged, on the basis of a project and following the best practices (category B) of the agency. Read separate article

Musis satellite program

Defense ministers reviewed progress on the MUSIS program, the Multinational Space Imaging System for Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Observation, accepted as an agency project in early March. The Agency will participate at three levels: 1) the extension of the program to other Member States, in addition to the current six MUSIS countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Italy); 2) the definition of an EU requirement in terms of spatial imaging, in collaboration in particular with the EU General Staff; 3) creating synergies between MUSIS and related projects, such as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).

Protection against biological agents

Ministers approved a new project for the development and improvement of monitoring equipment for biological detection detection and identification (BIO-EDEP). This project aims to fill a significant gap in the field of CBRN defense, one of the 12 priorities of the Capability Development Plan (CDP). Five Member States (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain) launched the BIO-EDEP project. Other member states have expressed their intention to join. The objective of the project is to carry out a preparation phase leading to a demonstration program and the purchase of identified equipment.


Download the conclusions and communicated of the EDA on research cooperation with the Commission

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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