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Estonia’s Defence Innovation Competition

Government Committing €1 Million in Incentives

The Estonian Ministry of Defence has launched a Defence Innovation Competition aimed at the development of future high-tech weapon systems, ammunition, munitions and associated products, with a view to artefacts with high export potential.

Governmental legislation in July repealed the existing prohibition on the manufacture or handling of weapons by private enterprise. The primary goal of the competition, announced on 22 August, is to promote the amendment to the law and attract new companies and ground-breaking products to Estonia’s defence industry sector.

“Our success parameter for the competition is to get at least 3-4 new and innovative products that can be marketed in Estonia and abroad,” explained said Chief Defence Industry Officer at the Ministry of Defence, Eneli Saabas. The total budget for the project is expected to exceed €1 million, with the government contribution to the winners of the competition standing at €500,000. Maximum support for a single project will be up to €200,000 and state support will be limited to a maximum of 45% of the development costs. “This preserves the motivation of enterprises and helps to ensure the projects will lead to successful results,” added Saabas.

The competition is targeted at companies that are registered in Estonia, have clever ideas and are committed to growing their business in manufacturing weapon systems or ammunition. Competition winners will be able to engage in product development and testing with the Estonian Defence Forces.

In recent years the most successful results of similar competitions have included the following products: Milrem Robotics’ autonomous ground platform; the UAS developed by ELI and Threod Systems: Rantelon’s communication and monitoring systems; bomb-shelters from Terramil; and a  modular field medical hospital and hospital information system by Semetron.

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