Luxembourg - 15 April, 2014 European Defency Agency
At the EDA Steering Board of 15 April, the Agency updated Defence Ministers on the progress made in implementing the tasks set at December’s European Council. The main elements of the Agency’s report were on the four capability programmes, standardisation and certification, dual-use research, and the initial elements for a policy framework for long-term cooperation.
Claude-France Arnould Chief Executive of the European Defency Agency commented :
“this Steering Board has come only some four months after the European Council on Defence in December, which set a wide range of tasks for EDA. This meeting was an intermediate step, providing us with the first opportunity to update Defence Ministers collectively on the progress made before the first deliverables are due to be presented in June 2014. It also gave us the opportunity to get their views on the initial proposals for the policy framework for long term cooperation.”
The Four Key Capability Programmes
The European Council in December gave EDA responsibility for four key capability programmes.
Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR)
In AAR the EDA has taken a global approach, focusing on improving the refuelling capabilities in Europe in the short, medium, and long-term. Regarding the optimisation and pooling of existing assets, the first collective AAR clearance trial was successfully completed in Italy in September 2013 with a second one scheduled for September this year. The first multinational European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART) was completed in Eindhoven in April 2014. Regarding longer term capabilities, work has progressed on the pooling of national requirements for new multi-role aircraft. A Request for Information was sent to industry in February on behalf of five participating countries -BE, ES, NL, PL and NO. A decision on the best-value option will be made by the end of 2014.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)
Work continues to support the development of RPAS capabilities in Europe and exploit possible civil-military synergies. EDA is developing the requirements and business cases for a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) capability. During the Steering Board, France confirmed that it would take the lead within this work strand. This is being supported by the EDA’s other activities on air traffic insertion, airworthiness, and operational support.
Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM)
The Common Staff Target is being prepared for submission to the Steering Board in autumn 2014, with a view to proposing a comprehensive programme by early 2016. During the Steering Board, Spain offered to take the lead on GOVSATCOM.
Activities are continuing in the area of Cyber Defence, including education, training, and technologies. Ad hoc projects are also under way for Cyber Ranges and deployable Cyber Defence kits for headquarters.
The European Council tasked the EDA to further stimulate dual-use research. At the Steering Board, an initial roadmap with actions to stimulate synergies between civil and military research was presented. EDA is conducting this work in close cooperation with the European Commission in support of Member States.
Standardisation and Certification
EDA is active in the field of military airworthiness with an initial set of European Airworthiness Requirements (EMARs) already published. Building on this experience, EDA is exploring the potential benefits of a harmonised approach to certification in other areas with Member States and the Commission. Work is on track for developing a roadmap for future hybrid and defence standards by mid-2014 in cooperation with the Commission.
Long term cooperation
The European Council Conclusions asked for a policy framework on long-term cooperation by the end of 2014. The objectives are to provide a coherent basis for defence cooperation in Europe, with appropriate mechanisms to support policy-review. Defence Ministers discussed the initial elements of this framework at the Steering Board.