Interoperability of defence systems is key for the ability of different forces to operate safely and effectively together in joint or combined operations. It can be challenging for the armed forces to achieve desired levels of interoperability. Interoperability relates on a technical level to the possibility of connecting or commonly using equipment and systems. This can be enhanced by e.g the use of open standards or joint architectures. But interoperability can also require interlocking processes and can even have implications on concepts of use and employment of systems. The increased use of unmanned systems (UXS, in which "X" can stand for "A" (aerial), "S" (surface), "G" (ground) or "U" (underwater)) of modern forces in multi-national operations require multi-national interoperability, cross-domain interoperability, effectiveness, as well as adaptability of systems to mission and mission intensity, which may imply upgrade and adoption of novel payloads or maintaining and upgrading equipment at state-of the art or standardising the human-machine interaction.
Interoperability can exist at different levels. Proposals are invited to focus on interoperability and standardisation of systems, subsystems, components and procedures of complex UXS platforms in a network centric environment. Proposals can address, amongst other, topics such as:
- the coordinated use of multiple platforms, datalink aspects (including standardised security), and standardisation of control stations to simultaneously control several platforms and to control the handover between stations;
- intra-system interoperability: interoperability between the subsystems and payloads within a system, with standard interfaces, leading to plug-and-play connection capability, making it thus easier to install new and/or change mission payloads;
- standardisation of the modules, interfaces and information formats to simplify the design of new and the upgrade of existing UXS;
- robotic hardware standardisation to allow for the exchange of robotic elements in military applications;
- interoperability between UXS; manned systems and UXS; soldiers, manned systems and UXS;
- concepts for interoperability between military units utilizing autonomous systems.
The proposed activities should include a demonstration of the effectiveness of the proposed approach.
The proposals should include a high-level description of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the envisaged functionalities and the methodologies on how to measure them. A report with a detailed description of these KPIs and methodologies should be delivered within 6 months after the start of the project.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the Union up to EUR 1 500 000 would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
When relevant, results publicly available from EDA and NATO activities and studies should be taken into account for the proposed work. The activities included in the proposals should clearly differentiate from or go beyond work already covered under relevant themes of the EU Programmes.
No more than one action will be funded.
The lifetime of the proposed project should not exceed 24 months.
- convincing demonstration of EU-wide research cooperation in defence research;
- promotion of intra-/inter-system interoperability for unmanned systems;
- increase of modularity and reduction in life cycle costs for unmanned systems;
- enhancement of the effectiveness of military personnel and systems.
Illustration Photo: Watchkeeper Air Vehicle 20 (credits: Think Defence / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))