EDA holds a high-level Conference in Budapest on European Technology non-Dependence (ETnD), on the 13-14 April, under the Hungarian EU Presidency. It brings together, for the first time, senior defence experts and policy makers from across Europe to discuss this subject.
Some 150 participants are expected with representatives from the Member States, the European Commission, the European Space Agency, Industry and the Research Community. The Conference addresses the challenges for improving access to the key enabling technologies that will underpin future defence capabilities and makes recommendations on future actions.
Non-Dependence on key technologies - the possibility for Europe to have unrestricted access to any required technology - is a pre-condition for a robust, sustainable, globally competitive European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB). EDA is proposing that its Member States develop a comprehensive European approach. Technological dependency limits the capabilities of the European Industry and their supporting research providers to respond to the evolving needs of the defence, space and security market. It can also seriously restrict EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) capabilities.
Although excellent sectorial examples of ETnD exist, an overall European framework is lacking. Besides the identification and prioritisation of the critical technologies and supply chains, an ambitious roadmap linked to sustained investments is necessary to achieve adequate technology non-dependence on a European level.
ETnD is a major topic for Defence but it also has a wider strategic dimension for Europe. The topic fits well in the EDA R&T objectives and is consistent with the European Defence Research & Technology Strategy, approved by Ministers of Defence.
Some critical technology areas which meet the criteria of Technology non-Dependence have already been identified and are subject to on-going EDA action.
The goal of the Conference is to convince all stakeholders of the strategic importance of European Technology non-Dependence for Defence and the need for a proactive policy.
(Photo: Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive. Credits: EDA).
Video, Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive
Speech of Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive.
Video of Péter Siklósi, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary
Video of Christian Bréant, EDA R&T Director
It is now widely accepted that investment in critical non dependence technologies can no longer be done nationally and that Europe collectively needs to have autonomous access to a range of critical Defence technologies and to maintain a capable Defence Technology and Industrial Base (EDTIB) to support its military capabilities.
Technological dependency limits the capabilities of European Industry and their supporting research providers to respond to the evolving needs of the defence, space and security market. It can also seriously restrict EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) capabilities. Non-Dependence on key technologies - the possibility for Europe to have unrestricted access to any required technology - is a pre-condition for a robust, sustainable, globally EDTIB. A comprehensive, high- level, European response to defence non-dependence is required.
European nations are suffering financial constraints and many have come under additional pressure due to the recent financial crisis. Smarter co-operation, guided by a strategy which generates and secures critical key enabling technologies could help to make Europe reasonably technologically non-dependent, now and in the future. Such a strategy would focus strongly on leveraging synergies between the civil and Defence communities.
ETnD requires a common European strategy which is guided by a common perception and policy. To achieve an adequate technology non-dependence on a European level, in addition to the identification and prioritization of the critical technologies and supply chains, a comprehensive roadmap, linked to sustained measures, milestones and investments, will be necessary. The study contract and the Budapest Conference are important steps towards these objectives. However, adequate commitment and actions by the European stakeholders, supported by the nations, are mandatory if the issue is to be developed further.
Understanding and dealing with the issue of technology and industrial dependencies is part of EDA’s day to day business. Work is already on going in a range of key enabling technologies (including FPGA, Carbon Fibres, Printed Circuit Boards and Gan Technology). Additional work is underway in the following sections:
in the domain of Military Aerospace, identifying highly added value competences future Air Systems and supply chain dependencies on non-EU suppliers;
in the ammunition sector looking at a reduction of technical non-EU dependencies: a contract has been let examining the position on Precision Guided Ammunition to a consortia led by BAE Systems Bofors (including Diehl BGT Defence, EXPAL, MBDA, Nexter Munitions, OTO Melara, Rheinmetall Waffe Munition, SAGEM and Thales TDA.) The study is part of a step-by-step plan to develop a more competitive European Defence ammunition industry.
Contract addressing key European Defence Technology and Industrial Dependencies
EDA has recently signed a contract to establish a better understanding of the scope of EU dependence on non-EU sources of supply in the Defence sector. A consortia led by FOI, including RAND Europe and the French aerospace lab ONERA, will undertake this work. The aim of the contract is to:
Map the current level of dependency across the EDTIB, identifying the consequences for key technologies, industrial processes and skills and a sustainable EDTIB able to satisfy future Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) requirements.
Develop criteria to objectively decide the critical technologies and industrial capabilities that are required to deliver defence capabilities and make proposals on which critical areas should be monitored.
Benchmark international best practices in dealing with dependency issues (from both the commercial and defence fiends) and propose best practice solutions.
Examine specifically the key dependency concerns in the European aerospace industry.