TALLINN – The Estonian Ministry of Defense is about to provide at total of 700,000 euros in grants to innovative and smart defense product projects from seven Estonian companies that took part in a competition for defense industry development projects.
Among the projects supported are a tactical data exchange platform compatible with the combat control system, the development of an infrared thermal camera simultaneously for satellites and drones, a directional mine training system, a mixed reality solution for armored vehicles, a gyro-stabilized optronic system compatible with different platforms, a universal container solution for pollution removal, washing of vehicles and equipment, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense said on Friday.
"Now in its ninth year, the competition has delivered innovative solutions and technologies with export potential to our defense industry every year. In addition, with the implementation of each supported project, we also bring additional money back into our economy," said Tiina Uudeberg, deputy secretary general for defense planning at the Ministry of Defense.
She pointed out that the competition gives many Estonian businesses the first practical experience in developing innovative defense industry products.
"In addition, the Ministry of Defense will help the companies attract external funding from the European Defense Fund for further product development and will promote business diplomacy by supporting the companies in reaching foreign markets. Over the period 2013-2021, we have supported a total of 41 projects with three million euros," Uudeberg said.
The deputy secretary general described cooperation between the defense industry and the defense forces as very important, because the defense industry needs the advice and recommendations of the experts of the defense forces in order to develop the best solutions. Such cooperation also creates a good opportunity to test products with the defense forces.
This year, 11 entries from 12 companies were submitted to the competition. The total cost of the projects was 2.55 million euros, with 1.13 million euros requested from the Ministry of Defense. The companies chosen for the grants in 2022 are Wayren OU/Defencelab OU, Hevi Optronics OU, Defensphere OU, Milson OU, SpaceIT OU and Bristol Trust OU.
The competition has a budget of up to 700,000 euros, with the amount per project capped at 200,000 euros. The support of the Ministry of Defense for a development project generally equals 25 percent of total project cost, but may be as high as 45 percent, depending on the potential of the project.
The applications were evaluated by a commission consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Defense, the defense forces, internal security agencies and agencies responsible for directing Estonia's economic development, as well as universities.