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27. July 2012

OCCAR & EDA build links, seeking efficiencies through cooperation

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) signed an Administrative Arrangement on the 27th July 2012 in Brussels, paving the way for a closer relationship between these two important actors in European defence cooperation.

Rat der Europäischen Union

© Rat der Europäischen Union

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation and the European Defence Agency fulfil complementary roles. In recognition of the close working relations established between OCCAR and EDA and the potential benefits and synergies stemming from still closer cooperation, an Administrative Arrangement (AA) was signed today by Mr. Patrick Bellouard, the OCCAR-EA Director and Ms Claude-France Arnould, the EDA Chief Executive.

Claude-France Arnould commented: “Thanks to this partnership, a project can be brought from concept to battlefields with fewer delays, delivering at greater speed and greater efficiency for our Member States.” The AA constitutes the foundation and establishes the framework for further cooperation between OCCAR and EDA. OCCAR and EDA will seek to ensure that their activities are coherent, complementary and effective. 

In pursuing cooperative projects and programmes, OCCAR and EDA will direct their efforts towards enhancing European defence capabilities, improving European Armaments cooperation, and strengthening the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB). Patrick Bellouard expressed his conviction that: “From now on, integration into OCCAR of programmes originating from EDA’s work on capabilities and harmonisation of requirements, will run smoother, delivering maximum efficiency for our customers.”

© Rat der Europäischen Union

© Rat der Europäischen Union

Principles of cooperation

With the signing of this arrangement, OCCAR and EDA become privileged partners in the field of defence capabilities development. Under the arrangement, OCCAR and EDA will share information on projects and programmes throughout their lifecycle, helping to guarantee a seamless handover in each case, with both parties remaining involved and informed at every stage. OCCAR and EDA can now deepen their cooperation through the administrative arrangement and a security agreement on the exchange of classified information. OCCAR & EDA will subsequently identify cooperative projects initiated and prepared by EDA that may be managed by OCCAR. 

This Administrative Arrangement forms part of both organisations’ ongoing efforts to engage with all defence stakeholders in Europe, delivering maximum efficiency for Member States.

© Rat der Europäischen Union

© Rat der Europäischen Union

OCCAR-EDA cooperation in practice

OCCAR and EDA have cooperated effectively on an ad hoc basis on several major projects. This arrangement incorporates the lessons learned from these projects.

  • For instance, on Maritime Mine Counter-Measures (MMCM), 13 states collaborated within an EDA programme harmonising requirements for the replacement of their capability. France and the UK have drawn from these results to launch a bi-lateral collaborative programme and have mandated OCCAR to manage the programme for two MMCM Mission Packages by 2018.
  • Also for MUSIS, seven Nations are cooperating in the framework of a Letter of Intent in the EDA context, while France and Italy launched the early phases of a bilateral OCCAR managed programme. MUSIS will federate future space systems for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation.
  • Another example is the European Secured Software Radio (ESSOR). An EDA project from 2007, the development of ESSOR has been entrusted to OCCAR with a programme division established in Bonn. This project will improve European military interoperability and help make European industry competitive in this crucial segment of the military communication market.
© Rat der Europäischen Union

© Rat der Europäischen Union

Looking ahead, OCCAR and EDA will intensify their cooperation to develop and enhance Europe’s air-to-air refuelling capability – a vital capacity in modern operations. As a first step they will investigate a multinational solution to fit air-to-air refuelling kits to A400M aircraft with a view to increase the European tactical air-to-air refuelling capability. As a second step they will investigate Multi Role Tanker Transport acquisition options to increase the European strategic air-to-air refuelling capability on the longer term. OCCAR and EDA’s joint efforts are contributing to elaborate a European solution to a European shortfall.