ROME — The European Union announced 11 new collaborative defense programs to add to its roster of PESCO projects on Tuesday and said Denmark was signing up as the program’s 26th member.
Covering training, munitions, counter artillery, air launched missiles and medium-size helicopters, the new projects add to 57 already set up by the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) program which matches members to share the financing and development of new defense capabilities.
To be led by seven different member states, the 11 new projects will boost Europe’s ability to wage a high-intensity war, said European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who claimed over 50 PESCO efforts are due to reach “delivery phase” by 2025.
France will lead a program to establish three training schools for military air transport pilots, while Estonia will head up a program to create a new combat support unmanned ground system.
France and Holland will work on a new counter-artillery sensor system, while Germany will lead work with France on a new anti-torpedo torpedo demonstrator.
Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden will team on an Italian-led program to better protect underwater gas pipelines and internet cables, reflecting greater awareness of the vulnerability of critical undersea infrastructure following the Nord Stream pipeline attack last September.
Germany will lead work on a new short-range, air-to-air missile to counter 6th-generation aircraft.
Adding to the growing number of “future” helicopter programs now underway, France will lead a Next Generation Medium Helicopter (NGMH) program grouping Italy, Finland and Sweden which will work on new platforms and upgrade existing types like the NH90.
The program will “ensure the availability and suitability of EU helicopter fleets until 2040″, the EU said, as well as feeding in to the bloc’s existing European Next Generation Rotorcraft program.
Italy will lead a group including France, Hungary and Sweden in the planning of a new Integrated Multi-Layer Air and Missile Defence system, while Finland leads Estonia, France and Sweden in the planning of new command and control systems for use in the Arctic.
Sweden will lead Estonia and France in a group working on more robust communications for deployed forces, while Spain will lead a team improving the performance of military medical teams.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.