Greek Armed Forces Look to Local Startups for Advanced Equipment and Applications

Greek Armed Forces Look to Local Startups for Advanced Equipment and Applications

Draft legislation proposes collaboration between the Greek armed forces and local startups to boost innovation and reduce reliance on foreign technology.

In a bid to enhance its defense capabilities and reduce its reliance on foreign technology, the Greek armed forces are set to collaborate with local startups. Draft legislation, which will be open for public consultation next week, outlines plans for the Ministry of Defense to invest up to €100 million over three years through a newly established company. This move marks a departure from the ministry’s passive role as a consumer of technology, with the aim of fostering innovation and local development in areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

1: Addressing the Technology Gap

Greece’s delayed foray into innovation has left it trailing behind neighboring Turkey, which has made significant progress in harnessing specialized research and developing companies to design and build system parts and software for weapons systems acquired abroad. While Turkey has emerged as a major exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Greece continues to rely on imports for even basic software, leading to significant delays in hardware delivery from local defense industries.

2: Establishing an Innovation Unit

To bridge the technology gap, the Ministry of Defense plans to establish an innovation unit that will facilitate locally designed and developed solutions in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other software. Defense Minister Nikos Dendias and his team have prioritized this initiative, recognizing the need to modernize and strengthen Greece’s defense capabilities.

3: Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange

The ministry is actively seeking a property near Omonia Square in central Athens, where several startups are already operating. This location will serve as a meeting space for defense officials to learn about the capabilities of startups, while entrepreneurs can gain insights into the needs of the armed forces. By fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange, the aim is to create a mutually beneficial partnership that drives innovation and addresses the specific requirements of the Greek armed forces.

4: Complementary to Existing Structures

The proposed innovation unit will not compete with the ministry’s General Directorate for Defense Investments and Armaments (GDDIA), which retains operational control over the acquisition of heavy weapons systems, accounting for 95% of the annual procurement budget. Instead, the innovation unit will focus on areas where local startups can contribute their expertise and develop cutting-edge solutions to complement existing defense capabilities.

Conclusion

With the of draft legislation to foster collaboration between the Greek armed forces and local startups, Greece aims to bolster its defense capabilities and reduce its reliance on foreign technology. By investing in innovation and creating an environment that encourages collaboration and knowledge exchange, Greece seeks to bridge the technology gap and catch up with neighboring countries. The establishment of an innovation unit marks a significant shift in the Ministry of Defense’s approach, signaling a commitment to embracing and playing an active role in innovation. As the legislative process progresses, Greece looks set to unlock its potential as a hub for technological advancements in the defense sector.