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DDPS innovation environments in an international context

The DDPS innovation environments are as diverse as the problems which they are trying to solve. So are the partners involved in finding the solution. You can find out which partners and networks are involved in projects at which points in time in this article.

Anela Ziko and Lucas Ballerstedt, Innovation and Processes specialised area, Science and Technology competence domain

A drawn picture of people standing around a multicopter and working on it
© Midjourney, Urs Böniger

armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) has a large national and international network of partners. Depending on the project, these are directly involved in the solution finding process or are available for a general exchange of ideas. A constant transfer of knowledge and a high level of expertise can thus be ensured.

Well established in Europe

In addition to numerous partners in industry and academia, armasuisse S+T can also benefit from cooperation with government institutions. Jiří Šedivý, for example, Chief Executive der European Defence Agency (EDA), visited the Swiss National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger in November 2022 and held talks with other security policy representatives as well as representatives from industry. Among other things, the talks dealt with the possibilities of strengthening international cooperation, in particular in the development of armed forces, military flight training and the area of research and innovation. In addition, the visit also provided the opportunity to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the partnership between the EDA and Switzerland. Since March 2012, Switzerland has had a legally non-binding cooperation agreement with the EDA. In-depth discussions are currently being held on an extended cooperation in the area of tests and experiments, for example, in the fields of drones and robotics.

Likewise, discussions are also taking place on the possibilities in the area of innovation development. Both the process and the structure of the innovation organisation are being dealt with.

The network extends across the Atlantic

Further cooperation in the area of innovation is taking place through exchanges and the continued expansion of the cooperation with the «Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA)» of NATO. Its aim is to bring together the best innovators in order to develop new technologies and solutions for security concerns and thus to promote knowledge sharing. The DIANA network is currently still being set up. armasuisse S+T has been invited to visit DIANA's new regional office in London in the second half of 2023 to discuss about innovation and identify cooperation opportunities.

Preliminary talks with NATO were already held in 2022 during visits to Brussels. Here, various ideas were exchanged and discussed in advance at different levels, strategically as well as operationally and on a specific basis.

Jens Rehanek also participated as a guest in technical experiments in the area of reconnaissance technologies of the «United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)» in March. The event can be seen as the counterpart to the DDPS innovation environment Sandbox, as various technical tests have been performed there on already advanced prototypes. Jens Rehanek used the occasion to exchange experiences in the performance of technical experiments promoting innovation as well as to expand his network. The visit also enabled Switzerland to demonstrate increased interest in a broader cooperation with the USA in the areas of innovation, knowledge building and common interests.

With the «Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)» programme from Canada’s Department of National Defence, armasuisse S+T also has contacts in the far north of America. As described in the previous articles on the DDPS innovation environments, its innovation programme served as the inspiration for the DDPS innovation environments. Even after it has been established, a lively exchange continues with the Canadian colleagues regarding the experiences and strategic goals of further development, as well as the implementation of the DDPS innovation environments.

This series of articles makes it clear that the topic of innovation is unavoidable nowadays. We hope to have given you a few insights into the multi-layered, extremely exciting field of innovations and look forward to informing you about other innovation projects in the near future.