Defence innovation competition won by four Estonian companies

The winners of the annual defence innovation competition, organised by the Ministry of Defence, were Estonian defence industry companies Milrem, Skeleton Technologies, Threod Systems, and Marduk Technologies.

“Estonia’s economic growth is one of the most important areas of development for the new coalition government. Estonia needs a defence industry that is capable of contributing more robustly to economic growth and national defence, said Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna. “Our goal is to systematically increase the export capacity of Estonia’s defence industry sector.“

Milrem received EUR 200,000 in support for their project, which involves the creation of a guidance system for unmanned ground vehicles. Skeleton Technologies received EUR 63,919 in support. The goal of their project is to develop the first ultracapacitor based engine start-up module for large military vehicles. Threod Systems received EUR 66,815 in support to develop a signal intelligence sensor for small and medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Marduk Technologies is a start-up company in the field of defence, whose project won EUR 69,266 in support. The planned result of the development project is a drone detection and disruption platform.

The budget for the competition was EUR 400,000, and the goal of the competition was to support Estonian companies in creating new export-oriented defence and security related products and services.

The amount of support from the Ministry of Defence for a single development project accounts for 25-45% of the project’s total costs, with the volume of support depending on the potential of the supported company’s development project.

A record 16 applications were submitted to this year’s competition. The total cost of submitted applications was EUR 5 million, with a total of EUR 1.6 million in support being applied for. The projects submitted to the competition were dominated by solutions from the field of information and communication technology solutions. The profiles of development project teams were broad, with cooperation taking place between companies as well as universities, which ensures a highly advanced level of technology for the products being developed. Participating in the competition were experienced companies, companies just starting out as well as companies coming from the civil sector to try their hand in the field of defence.

The three winning development projects are related to the development of unmanned systems. “This shows the strong competitive advantages of Estonian businesses in the rapidly developing field of unmanned and autonomous solutions,” said Kusti Salm, National Armaments Director.

“In the case of this year’s competition, a positive trend can be noted, in that the number of companies looking to contribute to security has increased. This is shown by the readiness of companies to invest more in research and development themselves as well as the large number of applications – twice as many as the year before,” added Salm. “In the case of Milrem’s project, the company is investing a sum that is more than double the total budget for the competition”.

The applications submitted to the innovation competition were assessed by a 14 member defence industry development committee, which, in addition to the Ministry of Defence, included representatives from other ministries, the Defence Forces, the Defence League, Enterprise Estonia, universities and other organisations guiding Estonia’s economic development.

The defence innovation competition helps to establish a strong and export capable domestic defence industry. The competition is open to Estonian companies with bold and innovative ideas, who are looking to create new products and services in the fields of defence and security on export markets.

The next competition will be taking place in 2017.

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