PESCO | 11 new projects focus on critical defence capabilities and interoperability
Defence Redefined
Published on 24/05/2023 at 17:00

The European Council approved a fifth round of collaborative projects under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with 11 new projects and a total of 15 participating Member-States.

The projects cover six military sectors and include critical capabilities such as munitions, counter-artillery and a medium-sized helicopter. The updated list of projects under PESCO now stands at 68.

The new projects aim to increase the coherence of the European capability landscape and deliver operational benefits to the European Armed Forces covering six military domains: Training (1), Land (2), Maritime (3), Air (2), Cyberspace/C4ISR (2) and Joint Capability Development (1), which will be led by seven different Member-States acting as coordinators.

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  • Critical Seabed Infrastructure Protection (CSIP). The project in question aims to increase the EU’s operational effectiveness in protecting critical maritime infrastructure.

The six participating Member-States are: Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden. An initial project timeline for the collection and agreement of requirements will run until 2024 with a possible agreement on a joint procurement expected in 2028.

  • Next Generation Medium Helicopter. The Next Generation Medium Helicopter (NGMH) project aims to create a dedicated forum to address the operational needs for both the upgrade of existing fleets and the next-generation European rotorcraft.

The project will ensure the availability and suitability of EU helicopter fleets by 2040 and the preparation of next-generation European Rotorcraft, including the capability to deal with high-intensity conflicts. The project launch and execution year is planned for 2023, with four participating Member-States: France, Italy, Finland and Sweden.

  • Counter Battery Sensors. The Counter Battery Sensors (CoBaS) project aims to develop a common concept for a next-generation Counter Battery capability for EU Armed Forces and to facilitate the future joint procurement of counter-artillery capabilities.

France and the Netherlands are the two participating Member-States. CoBaS will offer the latest set of capabilities, benefiting from emerging technologies and adapting to new threats linked to the performance of effective artillery systems to be deployed between 2030 – 2035.

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Further, projects include the development of munitions (including air-to-air), while eight additional projects include:

  • Creation of the European Defence Airlift Training Academy (EDA-TA)
  • Development of Anti-Torpedo Torpedo (ATT)
  • Development of the Future Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (FSRM)
  • Integrated Unmanned Ground Systems 2 (iUGS2)
  • Integrated Multi-Layer Air and Missile Defence system (IMLAMD)
  • Arctic Command & Control Effector and Sensor System (ACCESS)
  • Resilient Communication Infrastructures and Networks (ROCOMIN)
  • Health infrastructure (ROLE 2F)

On 23 May 2023, the Council confirmed Denmark’s participation in PESCO, several weeks after Denmark joined the EDA. In addition, three PESCO projects were closed earlier in 2023:

  • Indirect Fire Support (Indirect Fire Support – EuroArtillery)
  • EU Test and Evaluation Centers (EUTEC) and
  • Co-basing (project to improve the sharing of bases and support points).

It is noted that three other projects are in the closing phase.

To date, 68 PESCO projects are underway, and 47 of the projects will reach the execution phase by 2025. Of these, 21 projects have already reached this phase and another 26 projects are expected to follow by 2025.

Twenty-six states of the European Union (including Cyprus and Greece) participate in PESCO, while there are 22 common members in the EU and NATO.

Also read: PESCO | Council launches 4th wave of new projects in defence cooperation in EU




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