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19 Nov 13. At the meeting of the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board on 19 November 2013, Defence Ministers committed to the launch of four programmes and their associated roadmaps in order to address critical shortfalls identified in recent operations.

Increased cooperation in the areas of Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), Governmental Satellite Communication and Cyber Defence as well as support to industry including SMEs with a focus on research & innovation and military airworthiness certification result from the meeting. They will also constitute a contribution of Defence Ministers to the European Council in December addressing defence and security issues. The objective of the EDA Steering Board on 19 November was to finalise Defence Ministers’ contribution to the European Council in December as regards capabilities and industry. Against the backdrop of constrained defence budgets, the focus is on the preparation of the capabilities of tomorrow through cooperation, supported by a healthy and competitive industry as well as technology. EDA developed proposals to further enhance the development of defence capabilities and to support Europe’s defence industry. Defence Ministers today endorsed these proposals and committed to programmes and their associated roadmaps in the areas of AAR, RPAS, Governmental Satellite Communication and Cyber Defence. They also supported measures to support European defence research and innovation and industry, including SMEs.

Air-to-Air Refuelling

Air-to-air refuelling (AAR) is a critical enabler for air power projection and it is required to enable sustained air combat operations. Recent operations have demonstrated an important European capability gap in this area. EDA has thus developed a global approach with three objectives: increase overall capacity; reduce fragmentation of the fleet; and optimise the use of assets. The Agency together with the Member States is engaged in four work strands to close this important capability gap, of which the most important for the future is the acquisition of a European strategic Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) capability from 2020.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)

RPAS have proven their value in the military sphere in recent operations demonstrating their operational capacities, particularly for surveillance and information gathering. Defence Ministers endorsed a roadmap on RPAS which aims at laying the foundations for a European solution in the 2020-2025 timeframe. The roadmap includes four actions: RPAS Certification. In the context of the Military Airworthiness Forum, the Agency is exploring together with national authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency how to streamline the certification process for military RPAS on the European level. Signature of a Joint Investment Programme on RPAS for Air Traffic Insertion. The programme will focus on technological priorities such as sense and avoid, taxi, automatic take-off and landing, air traffic management interfaces, safe automated monitoring and decision architecture.

Governmental Satellite Communications

Satellite communications have become critical elements for defence, security, humanitarian, emergency response or diplomatic communications. They are a key enabler for civil and military missions/operations in particular in remote and austere environments with little or no infrastructure. Additionally, there is strong potential for a dual-use cooperative approach. The objective of EDA’s proposal for Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) is to prepare the next generation in the 2025 timeframe.

Cyber Defence

On Cyber Defence, EDA was tasked to develop, in close coordination with Member States, EEAS and the European Commission, a comprehensive roadmap for strengthening Cyber Defence Capabilities. Based on the work already commence

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