On December 5, 2022, the EU Commission has approved an investment of around EUR 1.2 billion in collaborative defence research and development with the adoption of the first ever award decision on 61 projects supported by the European Defence Fund (EDF).
With the decision, the EU is funding high-end defence capability projects such as next generation of fighter aircraft, armoured vehicles and ships, as well as critical defence technologies in the areas of space, cyber, military cloud, Artificial Intelligence, semiconductors, and medical countermeasures. The projects will also spearhead disruptive technologies, notably in quantum technologies and new materials. Categories which receive notable funding are Air combat (around €190 million), Ground combat (around EUR 155 million), Naval combat (around EUR 103 million) and Air & Missile defence (around EUR 100 million). Space-related projects are supported with about EUR50 million. With EUR 38 million invested in projects supporting cyber defence R&D, the EU funds joint cyber defence capability development.
Support is also provided to promising projects involving cross-border SMEs and start-ups under the dedicated SME category with 24 projects receiving funding. Overall, SMEs account for around 43 % of the entities participating in the projects.
Following the adoption of the Commission award decision, the grant agreements with the consortia will be signed and projects start delivering concrete results. The objective is to support the competitiveness of EU defence industry, the development of the key technologies our armed forces need and strengthen the Union’s security.