The European Defence Agency's Steering Board has approved the launch of a specific EDA ad hoc project which will contribute to the implementation of a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project aimed at developing a Deployable Modular Underwater Intervention Capability Package (DIVEPACK). Bulgaria, which leads a group of three PESCO participating countries involved in DIVEPACK (together with France and Greece), had formally requested the Agency’s support for moving this ambitious project forward.
The DIVEPACK project, part of the second batch of PESCO projects approved in November 2018, aims at developing an interoperable specialised modular asset called “DIVEPACK Unit”. The Unit will provide a comprehensive capability package (both as materiel and expertise) enabling a tailored response to the full spectrum of defensive (non-Special Operations Forces, SOF) underwater divers’ interventions, in expeditionary setting, both at sea and in inland bodies of water, in support of EU missions. It will focus on human centric integration of a wide range of diving and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles materiel, operated by qualified personnel, in a comprehensive capability package.
The capability will be based on an open plug-and-play architecture which will facilitate the versatility of response in the framework of EU CSDP operations and will provide a quick reaction capability, applicable to a broad range of underwater scenarios, both at sea and in inland bodies of water, except for special forces missions.
EDA’s specific Category B project will serve as a preparation phase for the DIVEPACK PESCO project and deal with harmonisation of requirements, in particular the development and endorsement of the Common Staff Targets (CST), Common Staff Requirements (CSR), the Business Case (BC) and other relevant documents necessary to allow for a smooth acquisition phase afterwards. EDA will thus act as a facilitator and manager of the launch phase of the project.
EDA’s Acting Chief Executive Olli Ruutu said: “EDA is delighted to take this ambitious and innovative PESCO project forward and to support its Member States. As the European hub for collaborative capability development, the Agency has the required expertise to help Member States in the implementation of their PESCO projects. The development of underwater control capabilities which contribute to resilience at sea and are based on new technologies such as unmanned systems, is one of the European Capability Development Priorities agreed in 2018. The DIVEPACK project will contribute to this priority”.
Bulgaria's Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov said: “The DIVEPACK is the first joint project in the PESCO context coordinated by Bulgaria, which makes us proud and also ambitious. Its core purpose is to build up a range of specific defence capabilities, which will be fully aligned with the European Capability Development Priorities. The DIVEPACK units will be capable of executing versatility of underwater missions and tasks as part of EU CSDP and NATO operations. The first phase of DIVEPACK will be implemented within EDA’s framework as a Cat B project and we believe that the Agency’s competences and experience in facilitating collaborative defence initiatives will provide indispensable support for the successful completion of the project. In pursuing coherence on EU level, we intend to submit a part of the DIVEPACK activities for funding under the Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).”