PESCO | Council launches 4th wave of new projects in defence cooperation in EU
Defence Redefined
Published on 17/11/2021 at 10:10

Today, the European Council adopted a decision on updating the list of projects to be undertaken under the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). As a result, 14 new projects will be added to the list of 46 existing ones that have been developed under PESCO since December 2017.

The new projects constitute another step towards the joint investment in and development of defence, in particular in the air and space domains: 

  • The Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo (SATOC) project fills a critical shortfall by developing a European solution for the transport of outsized and heavy cargo,
  • The Medium size Semi-Autonomous Surface Vehicle (M-SASV), a vehicle with multiple mission modules and increased operational flexibility and crew protection that can be used for littoral operations as well as naval task groups, 
  • The Next Generation Small RPAS (NGSR – Remotely-piloted aircraft system) will develop the next generation of tactical drones to be used by military units in the maritime and air domains as well as for dual-use (civil defence), namely by law enforcement organisations or disaster/emergency agencies,
  • The Defence of Space Assets (DoSA) project will increase the EU’s operational efficiency in the space domain by making the best use of current and future space assets through cross-cutting space functions of access, passive defence and operational efficiency through training.

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The list of new projects also includes: Essential Elements of European Escort (4E) for the maritime area, Future Medium-size Tactical Cargo (FMTC), Rotorcraft Docking Station for Drones, Small Scalable Weapons (SSW) and Air Power for air systems. The Main Battle Tank Simulation and Testing Centre (MBT-SIMTEC) and the EU Military Partnership (EU MilPart) are included in the land systems, while the Common Hub for Governmental Imagery (CoHGI) is part of the space area. Lastly, Automated Modelling, Identification and Damage Assessment of Urban Terrain (AMIDA-UT) and Cyber Ranges Federations (CRF) are included in cyber defence and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) systems.

The Council has also adopted two recommendations setting out more precise objectives for the second initial phase of PESCO 2021-2025 and on the progress made by the project members towards fulfilling their commitments.

To date, 25 EU Member States have undertaken the more binding commitments that form the basis of PESCO. With today’s decision, the number of collaborative projects has risen to 60 covering various areas such as training facilities, land formation systems, maritime and air systems, cyberspace and the potential for joint multiple services and spaces.

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An initial list of 17 projects to be developed under PESCO was adopted by the Council on March 6, 2018. A second batch of 17 projects to be developed under PESCO was adopted by the Council on November 19, 2018, followed by a third one of 13 additional projects to be developed under PESCO, which was adopted by the Council on November 12, 2019. One PESCO project from the first batch has been officially closed by its project members.

There has been progress on projects that have been adopted and are ongoing. The Cyber Rapid Response Teams and the European Medical Command are now operational. Efforts should now focus on delivering tangible results on as many projects as possible, more than one third by 2025.

The 25 member-states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

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