FIST pushes ahead
VOSS begins in earnest
Land Warrior plans evolve
ACMS - Advanced Combat Man System
MERS - Moving forwards
NORMANS pursues core functionality
African Warrior fires up
FELIN’s big numbers
ISSP - Canada turns need into reality
EDA - 21st Century Soldier System
Italy’s Future Soldier: The current status
Home | Programmes | EDA - 21st Century Soldier System
European flag21st Century Soldier System

Erich Weissenböck, Project Officer Engagement, European Defence Agency (EDA) Capability Directorate discusses the EDA’s support for national Soldier Modernisation efforts

Q: What is the EDA doing in terms of soldier modernisation?
A: The agency is running a project called 21st Century Soldier System. The project was created two years ago, to group and coordinate all initiatives having a link with the development of this capability.

It aims at the period beyond 2015. This time horizon is allowing the EDA to initiate a full business cycle: first to harmonise the requirements for the new capabilities; second synchronise ongoing, and generate additional Research & Technology activities and third to consolidate the different timelines and budget lines of the interested participating Member States for common development and procurement. By mapping all activities, duplications among the ongoing programmes can be reduced and repetition avoided when newcomers start a national programme. Consequently, synergies between national programmes can be exploited.

EDA Contributing Member States have decided to identify modules which assure essential soldier functionalities and interoperability in a first stage and continue to implement as many common modules as possible. © Sagem

EDA Contributing Member States have decided to identify modules
which assure essential soldier functionalities and interoperability
in a first stage and continue to implement as many common
modules as possible. © Sagem

Q: Is the term FESS (Future European Soldier Systems) still being used by the EDA?
A: FESS was initially used by the EDA in 2006. FESS or FESS-T (Future European Soldier System-Technologies) was introduced by the EDA at the beginning of the initiative in order to avoid any duplication of the 15 national “brands” and to highlight the European perspective. In November 2006 it was changed into 21st Century Soldier System to focus more on a capability-based approach.

Q: What informal and formal interfaces does the EDA have with Europe’s national programmes?
A: Informal interfaces are built by the exchange of information, presentations of governments or industrial consortia like European Land Defense Industry Group (ELDIG) and meetings during trade fairs like Eurosatory. With the interested participating Member States we discuss the matter in a dedicated Project Team. Formal decisions are taken by the EDA Steering Board.

Q: What informal and formal interfaces does the EDA have with NATO’s LCG/1?
A: The official interface between NATO and the EU/EDA is the EU-NATO Capability Group. It provides the platform for official information exchange regarding progress of capability improvements and to ensure complementarities between capability developments in both organisations. Of course, informal contacts exist at the working level - staff to staff.

Q: The EDA have said that there will be no interference in ongoing programmes, but at the same time haven’t excluded short/mid term cooperation such as acceleration of expansion of existing programmes by combining or using existing results. Could you give me an example of this in which the EDA is involved, perhaps outside the Soldier System area?
A: The purpose of capability development in the EDA framework is to translate the ESDP requirements into feasible solutions that will preferably be taken forward cooperatively. Perhaps the most important example is EDA’s work on increasing the availability of helicopters for ESDP operations. Here we are looking at both training and upgrading. But most of our projects, in particular R&T ones, are focusing on the medium to longer term.

Q: How does the Letter of Intent Harmonisation of Military Requirements Cooperative Requirements Team II Common Staff Target relate to FESS?
A: An ad hoc EDA Category B programme, grouping eight Member States was initiated in June 2007. It is based on the LOI CST named Combat Equipment for Dismounted Soldiers (CEDS). Its purpose is to develop common core and modules for the next generation of dismounted soldiers beyond 2015: NEC environments, all possible scenarios and environmental conditions, weapon platforms and intelligence sensors. The first task of this CEDS programme is to write the technical requirements. This document was the starting point of the EDA initiative.

Q: The EDA has outlined the goal of a more common European core for Soldier Modernisation after 2015. How do you define ‘core’ and what progress have you made toward this?
A: Contributing Member States decided to identify modules which assure essential soldier functionalities and interoperability in a first stage and continue to implement as many common modules as possible. Work is ongoing in defining requirements for such an architecture.

Q: What contribution could the EDA make in terms of interoperability, harmonisation of military requirements and R&T and Armaments Cooperation in the meantime?
A: The EDA integrated way of working is based on that. This allows the defining of minimum and acceptable interoperability levels to be achieved within the definition of common core and modules. Do not forget that interoperability can also be improved through common doctrine and training standards. To work on interoperability for us means, that we analyse through a combination of means, infrastructure and ways; concepts, organisation, manpower and training.

Q: What could be the EDA’s ‘project contribution in kind’?
A: This is not a project but a tool to facilitate the difficult start of a co-operative project. If you would like to participate in a common project, but you lack the money, you can bring in a national ‘contribution-in-kind’ instead of money such as the results of a general staff study, earlier R&T studies or providing a Test and Evaluation facility free of charge. The other contributing Member States will negotiate with you the value in money which they admit as your “virtual financial” share in the project.

Q: What work is the EDA’s Materiel Standardization Group doing in the areas of FESS and what is its remit for FESS related standards?
A: The Materiel Standardisation Group, and the associated Materiel Standards Harmonisation Team, comprises the Member States’ experts on materiel standardisation management. This real source of standardisation advice is available to the 21st Century Soldier System project and all other Agency projects. There are also two important standards tools available: the European Handbook for Defence Procurement (EHDP) [] and the European Defence Standards Information System (EDSIS). The EHDP is an ongoing initiative funded by the Commission that provides a catalogue of “best practice” standards and standardlike specifications - thus proving a source of existing standards for the 21st Century Soldier System project. EDSIS is a new tool for new or amendments to existing standards to be published and acted upon collaboratively. The 21st Century Soldier System project will use EDSIS to fill standardization gaps.

Q: How do you avoid overlap with other organisations’ efforts?
A: Internal and external information exchange is of course the prerequisite. The platform provided by the Project Team 21st CSS is the appropriate tool for coordination with Member States and NATO.

Q: What is its status, remit and schedule Soldier Prime Contractor Team?
A: We received seven proposals from the Soldier Prime Contractor (SPC) team composed of the seven major European industries developing different projects in this area. A link will now be developed between this group of industries, with additional companies and the CEDS actors. A meeting is planned in June 2008.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict