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Posted: May 26, 2008

Nanotechnology part of European Defence Agency's new Disruptive Defence Technologies program

(Nanowerk News) European governments agreed today to establish a new Joint Investment Programme (JIP) for research into emerging technologies which might have a disruptive effect on the battlefield, using an innovative structure devised by the European Defence Agency (EDA) to boost collaborative European efforts on defence Research & Technology.
A ministerial meeting of the EDA’s Steering Board approved the new two-year programme, building on the experience from first JIP launched in 2006 which focuses on the protection of armed forces. 11 European countries will contribute to the new initiative, which will be funded by a common budget of €15.5 million.
"I am delighted to see that this new way of collaborating in a more integrated and efficient way has proved its worth and is being repeated,” said Javier Solana, the Head of the Agency, who chaired the meeting of defence ministers. “Investing more in Defence R&T and spending more together will be achieved only through this kind of pragmatic approach.".
The new JIP on Innovative Concepts and Emerging Technologies will look into technologies such as nanotechnology materials and structures, remote detection and health monitoring. The JIP structure features a management board which decides how funds are to be allocated for individual projects with no pre-determined formula about how much will be spend in each contributing country.
European Defence Agency Chief Executive Alexander Weis told a press conference that there were three main technology clusters.
He gave the following examples:
Cluster A – integrated navigational architecture (providing back-up if GPS is not available).
Cluster B – using nanotechnologies to create more ergonomic equipment for soldiers (eg aiding night vision) or to come up with solutions to reduce the weight and size of power sources.
Cluster C – remote detection of hidden items such as improvised explosives devices.
This is the EDA's second joint investment program following one on the protection of armed forces launched in 2006. The UK has chosen not to take part in either project, a choice that France's Defence Minister Hervé Morin was not too concerned about although he would have preferred that all the member states were involved in it.
About EDA
The European Defence Agency (EDA) was established by the Council on 12 July 2004. It is designed "to support the Council and the Member States in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the ESDP as it stands now and develops in the future". More specifically, the Agency is ascribed four functions, relating to:

a) defence capabilities development;

b) armaments cooperation;

c) the European defence technological and industrial base and defence equipment market;

d) research and technology.

These functions all relate to improving Europe's defence performance, by promoting coherence in place of fragmentation.
The EDA is an Agency of the European Union. High Representative Solana is Head of the Agency, chairman of the Steering Board, which acts under the Council's authority and within the framework of guidelines issued by the Council.
Source: European Defence Agency