Work underway in the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Commission to explore dual-use synergies on R&T with the support of existing EU funding instruments has led to a tangible result with the recent announcement that a €2.2 million dual-use research project led by a Polish SME will be co-funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
The Polish project called “Intruder Detection and Avoid System” (IDAAS) aims at developing a sensor-based system helping to avoid collisions between general aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, or drones). It is the second dual-use research project co-funded under ESIF after a first successful pilot project in Portugal related to technologies for unmanned maritime systems (project TURTLE).
Of the total required investment (€2.2 million), ESIF will fund €1.75 million (78,7%). Project holder is EUROTECH, an SME based in Mielec, a town in south-eastern Poland.
IDAAS will integrate different types of independent measurement sensors (optoelectronic cameras working in visual range and infrared, acoustic microphones with a big sensitivity, laser scanner, radar) and a complex measurement and calculation module which will communicate directly with on-board or control systems. The fundamental advantage of IDAAS system will be its complete autonomy and independence from other devices and systems. Therefore it will be possible to use it as an independent or a supplementary anti-collision system.
The IDAAS project was first selected within EDA’s “1st ESIF process”, issued in December 2012 to obtain EDA technical assistance in finalizing the application dossier under the EU multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2007-2013. Due to a lack of residual ESIF budget at the end of the previous MFF, EDA has kept supporting it for submission within the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq welcomed the ESIF co-funding and stressed the importance of seeing an SME taking the lead in such an innovative project. “It’s a great success which confirms that there are funding opportunities for defence-related stakeholders available in the EU’s multiannual financial framework running till 2020, especially for SMEs with dual-use projects”, Mr Domecq stated. “The challenge is to ensure that all current and future EU funding schemes or tools are complimentary to Member States’ existing R&T programmes and not seen as a replacement for them”, he added.