Latvia ready to launch its first European Defence Fund project
A consortium of local businesses and research institutes led by ‘Latvijas Mobilais Telefons’ (Latvian Mobile Telephone, LMT) is ready to launch the first Latvian project of European Defence Fund (EDF) to research and develop Modular Unmanned Ground Systems (MUGS).
‘Participation in this project will give Latvian defence and security industry an opportunity to expand international cooperation with leading foreign military companies, while National Armed Forces will benefit from access to innovative technologies delivered for testing and further fine-tuning. One of the advantages of the 21st century is that we can boost prosperity and security through smart and responsible use of technologies. Nowadays, when a large portion of safety monitoring around the world is done by smart systems, it is only natural that innovative technologies enter the defence industry, as well. On top of exchanging data, these unmanned ground systems will eliminate the need to risk people’s lives in difficult circumstances. That is their main benefit,’ underlined Defence Minister Artis Pabriks.
‘Modern cybersecurity solutions are as important for our defence as physical security of borders. As an innovative mobile operator, engaged in defence research and development, LMT and other international partners are happy to reinforce Europe’s defence capabilities and expertise with research and development in progressive technologies. We are bringing in our computer vision and audition expertise and combining it with ICT technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to create new mission command systems. These technologies will enable us to develop sophisticated unmanned systems we need to make accurate assessment and decisions more quickly at times when speed of the reaction can be crucial for national and also European security,’ said Juris Binde, LMT President.
As announced earlier, the Ministry of Defence signed the Letter of Intent confirming Latvia’s interest in participating in the first project of European Defence Fund. The aim of the project is to research and develop next generation Modular Unmanned Ground Systems (MUGS).
The idea to apply for European Defence Fund project funding came from Estonian company Milrem Robotics which created a joint consortium of 14 companies representing a broad range of industries, including communication, driverless solutions, cyber security, command and control, sensors and other innovative technologies, in Latvia, Estonia, Finland Germany, Belgium, France and Spain.
According to requirements of the recently-established European Defence Fund, financing is available to industry consortiums consisting of business or research organisations from at least three EU member states. Another eligibility criterion for such member state consortiums is an agreement between all partner industries specifying common technical standards and responsibility for ensuring additional support for the project, as well as further use of its results.
Signing of the Letter of Intent on Development of Modular Unmanned Ground Systems between defence ministers of Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Belgium, France and Spain mandates Latvia’s Defence Ministry to provide additional support to the industry consortium in the form of co-financing or technical testing of project deliverables.
In addition to this project, Latvia will also continue to facilitate the participation of Latvian industry players in other projects funded from the European Defence Fund, including projects developed by other local companies.
European Defence Fund was created to support joint EU member state investments in common research, development and manufacturing projects. It also aims to facilitate joint defence procurements.