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Nov 5 2020

Defence Innovation Challenge winners announced


The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has announced the winners of its Defence Innovation Challenge, after the top qualifying companies pitched their solutions at the virtual industry event NITEC Connect.


The winners will receive a small contract to take part in a pilot with the Agency. Each contract will be tailored to the winner's proposal.

The winners are:

  • Aselsan
  • ERA a.s.
  • Reticle Ventures Canada Incorporated, in partnership with Lemay.ai

The challenge aims to accelerate transformational, state-of-the-art ideas, technologies and solutions from companies of all size from all NATO Nations. This year, it focuses on improving distributed radar data processing so that NATO's air operations can tap into the latest technologies available in the defence sector and beyond.

Defence Innovation Challenge winners announced

Participants proposed solutions to improving the outputs from radar systems. This is a fundamental element of the Alliance's air defence capability, the Air Command and Control System, which industry is delivering to NATO.

 "At the NCI Agency we know we don't innovate alone. Industry has always been a major partner in our efforts. I am excited to see what other industry innovators can bring to this area, particularly in applying machine learning techniques to the wealth of data we have from these systems," said Major General Göksel Sevindik, NCI Agency Chief of Staff, in his opening remarks.

After representatives pitched the top qualifying proposals during NITEC Connect, a panel of experts assessed them against criteria for feasibility, appropriateness, innovation and projected cost/benefit analysis.

The judging panel was composed of experts from throughout the Agency, from NATO Headquarters and from Nations. Collectively they bring a wealth of expertise on air command and control, and the technologies proposed by the companies, as well as great experience with turning innovative ideas into tangible benefits for military forces.

"The innovation challenge is one route the NCI Agency uses to remove barriers between innovative solutions from industry and improved operational effectiveness for NATO," said Dr Michael Street, Head, Innovation and Data Science at the NCI Agency.

Next, the NCI Agency will work with the winners to take their innovation to the next level and test it in NATO scenarios. The companies will work closely with NCI Agency experts in this field, refining their proposal and looking into the challenges of putting the innovative ideas into practice in NATO.

"In the Innovation Challenge, we challenge industry and we challenge ourselves. It is a forum that allows us to continue and deepen a conversation with industry and to explore what new technology can mean to NATO," said Ives Tuyaerts, Engineering Branch Chief, Air Command and Control Programme Office and Services, NCI Agency.