This year, for the first time, the Estonian Defence Industry Association chose the Estonian defence industry Award of the Year instead of the defence industry Company of the Year. Recognition was given to four Estonian companies that were successful in the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, winning a total of 10 million euros in research and development projects.
Namely – Milrem AS, Cybernetica AS, GT Cyber Technologies OÜ and DefSecIntel Solutions OÜ – won grants for research and development projects.
The Minister of Defence of Estonia said that the Estonian defence industry has stood out in the international arena as a strong, capable and ambitious partner.
“Together, we have reached the next stage in the development of the sector – the defence industry contributes to the Estonian economy, helps to create world-class security solutions for Estonia and our allies, and assures Estonia’s international and innovative image,” Luik said.
Luik added that the Award of the Year – grant from the European Defence Fund pilot program – is a very big step for the Estonian defence industry and a proof that small countries and companies can participate in the program and jointly create new defence capabilities in the EU.
According to Taavi Veskimägi, the Chairman of the Council of the Estonian Defence Industry Association, unusual year made the Electoral Commission decide to apply a different approach than usual and recognize the defence industry Award of the Year in order to spotlight the great success of several Estonian companies in the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
He added that the success of Estonian companies in the European Defence Industry Development Programme is a sign of the success of more than ten years of cooperation between the Ministry of Defence of Estonia, the Estonian Defence Forces, companies and the Estonian Defence Industry Association.
„The year 2020 marks the next step in the development of the domestic defence industry, where our companies have become an important part in development of the European critical defence capabilities.”
“I would like to thank all entrepreneurs, officials and politicians who have contributed to this success. The Estonian defence industry as part of Estonia’s defence capability can only be developed in strong cooperation between the state and companies. It has not been possible anywhere, nor in Estonia,” Veskimägi said.
“Estonian defence industry companies have proven that we are competitive technology partners in European cooperation projects. Cooperation between the state and companies has worked excellently within the framework of the European Defence Fund and has made it possible to have a say in the development of European defence capabilities at the highest level. We must maintain this level of cooperation and ambition, and also have a say in the development of important capabilities in the future or even lead them, ”said Kuldar Väärsi, the Chairman of the Management Board of Milrem Robotics.
The awarding of the Estonian defence industry Company of the Year title is a tradition aimed to recognize and spotlight companies in the field of defence and security that have achieved outstanding results during the year and therefore are good examples for other companies in the field. In total, six Estonian companies have won the title Company of the Year: Baltic Workboats AS (2013), Cybernetica AS (2014), Defendec OÜ (2015), OÜ ELI (2016), AS Samelin (2017) ja OÜ Englo (2018).
The Minister of Defence of Estonia, Minister of the Interior of Estonia, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology of Estonia, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Chairman of the Estonian Defence League, Chairman of the Estonian National Defence Committee of the Parliament of Estonia, Commander of the Estonian National Defence College, Rector of Tallinn University of Technology, Representatives of the Estonian Defence Industry Association participated in the election of this year’s Estonian defence industry Award of the Year.
The Estonian Defence Industry Association was established in 2009, bringing together more than a hundred companies covering all important areas of the defence industry. The aim of the Association is to create better opportunities for the members of the Association in the market of defence-related services and goods and to be a strategic partner for the Republic of Estonia, strengthening Estonia’s defence capabilities and contributing to economic development.