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Defence industry development project competition won by a record number of participants

20. December 2017 - 0:00
Defence industry development project competition won by a record number of participants
Defence industry development project competition won by a record number of participants

While previous iterations of the Ministry of Defence’s defence industry development project competition had 3–4 winners, this year there were a total of 7.

The following companies earned financial support at the competition: Semetron, Haine Paelavabrik, Nord Arms, Nordic Armoury, Uniraja, DrageTech and ETHR.

The goal of the competition was to raise the international competitiveness of Estonia's defence industry products and services, by supporting Estonian companies in their development of innovative defence and security related products.

The total amount of support at this year's competition was 400 000 euros.

• Semetron received 172 382 euros in support for the development of a patient information and registration system in the military sector.

• Haine Paelavabrik received 23 645 euros in support for the development of an innovative camouflage textile technology operating within the infrared range.

• The company Nord Arms won 83 430 euros in support for their project to develop an ultraprecise semi-automatic sniper rifle.

• Nordic Armoury will receive 14 000 euros in support to help it develop a large calibre heavy machine gun, which will help keep costs down during trainings.

• Uniraja will receive 74 250 euros to develop the SecureChat secure communication system.

• The new start-up company DrageTech will receive 2700 euros in support for a small, explosive carrying attack UAV.

• ETHR is also a new start-up, and will receive 29 593 euros in support to help it develop an innovative especially light splint, which is designed specifically for military clients.

A total of 14 applications were submitted to this year’s competition, and the total volume of the projects was 3.1 million euros. The support applied for from the Ministry of Defence, i.e. the maximum desired support, was 1.1 million euros. Companies were ready to personally contribute a maximum of 2 million euros, along with other means, to product development.

The fields represented at the competition included unmanned systems, medical systems, IT solutions, material technologies and weapons systems development projects.

“The projects submitted to this year’s competition were characterised by a strong orientation towards end consumers in the defence and security sector, but in the case of several projects – such as Semetron, ETHR, and Haine Paelavabrik – broader use beyond the defence sector can be predicted. It is positive to see that from year to year cooperation between companies and Estonian researchers as well as prestigious foreign universities is growing, which ensures the high level of technology of developing products,” commented Kusti Salm, Director of the Defence Investments Department at the Ministry of Defence.

According to Salm, the competition as a whole demonstrates that Estonian companies possess both the interest and the skills to personally develop innovative weapons systems and ammunition.

“This year, the Ministry of Defence actively engaged in preparing for the amendment of the Weapons Act, which would permit Estonian companies to personally handle and produce military weapons, ammunition and explosives. At present, Estonia is virtually the only European country in which the above is prohibited. We hope that the Riigikogu adopts the amendments to the Act next year, and that Estonian defence industry undertakings will be able to bring new products and technologies to national defence.”

The competition is directed towards already operating companies as well as new domestic companies looking to contribute to security by developing innovative and technology intensive products and services for export markets.

Applications submitted to the development support competition were assessed by a nine member defence industry development committee, comprised of individuals who were both expert on Estonia’s economic development and in their respective fields, as well as foreign experts.

The competition, which was held for the fifth time, helps to establish a strong and export capable domestic defence industry.

The next competition will take place in 2018.

Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee