The European Defence Fund (EDF) Program Committee has approved the list of projects selected for funding by the European Commission as part of the 2021 EDF call for proposals. SENER Aeroespacial has achieved an excellent result for Spanish industry, as it will participate in a total of seven projects in the 2021 call.
Specifically, SENER Aeroespacial will coordinate one of the star projects in the 2021 EDF call for proposals, the EU HYDEF (European Hypersonic Defense Interceptor). The project is aimed at developing a European interceptor to counter threats from 2035. It will result in the concept, risk reduction and demonstration of an efficient endo-atmospheric interceptor capable of operating at different flight levels, which will include an innovative aerodynamic control system for high maneuverability, very agile guiding concepts and advanced sensor and search systems.
This project will involve 13 companies and organizations from 7 nations: Spain, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden.
EU HYDEF is related to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)’s TWISTER project (Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance). This project is led by France with the participation of several countries – including Spain – for the development of a complete system to defend against hypersonic threats with space-based surveillance. In recent months, the importance of having such a system in Europe has increased exponentially, following Russia’s demonstration using hypersonic missiles against targets in Ukraine near the border with Poland.
The EU HYDEF project will be developed over three years with a budget of around 110 million euros, of which almost 100 million will be financed by the European Commission. This will be the largest grant awarded to a project by the EDF until now.
In this project, SENER Aeroespacial has driven participation by other Spanish companies and organizations, including GMV and Escribano M&E, SENER Aeroespacial partners in the Spanish Missile Systems (SMS) initiative; INSTALAZA and INTA, also involved as SMS strategic partners; plus, other Spanish industries, such as Navantia and Skylife. The HYDEF project is thus a significant milestone in the SMS initiative’s consolidation plan.
The other major project also coordinated by SENER Aeroespacial is COMMANDS (Convoy Operations with Manned-unManneD Systems). Its objective is to develop total life cycle (TLC) capabilities for agile, intelligent, and cooperative manned and unmanned ground systems. The results will not only allow for improvements to the current EU inventory ground vehicles for specific missions, but also to integrate them into future vehicles under development.
The European Commission (DG DEFIS) believes that the COMMANDS project is related to the PESCO initiative’s UGS (Integrated Unmanned Ground System) project.
Under the coordination of SENER Aeroespacial, another 20 companies and organizations from 10 EU Member States will participate in COMMANDS. The project will run for 3 years with a budget of 26.8 million euros, of which almost 25 million will be financed through a grant from the European Commission. In addition to SENER Aeroespacial, the Spanish companies Indra, Santa Bárbara Sistemas and INTA will participate in the project.
SENER Aeroespacial is Spain’s leading company in ground vehicle autonomous navigation systems, as well as in collaborative systems between manned and unmanned vehicles (MUT). The company has been awarded several projects related to these systems within the framework of the Ministry of Defense’s COINCIDENTE program: ARCO, ALANO and DIEDRO. SENER Aeroespacial has developed its own autonomous ground navigation system (NAVIGROUND) specifically designed to operate in GNSS degraded or denied environments. Recently, the agreement between SENER Aeroespacial and Santa Bárbara-GDELS was published, for the development of autonomous capacities on ASCOD platforms.
In addition to these two major projects, SENER Aeroespacial will participate in five others: EICAS, EuroHAPS, EPC, ADEQUDE and Q-SiNG.
SENER Aeroespacial opened a branch in Brussels in 2019 with a clear commitment to the European market. With the award of these seven EDF projects, the Spanish company has consolidated itself as a Spanish benchmark in this important expanding market.