ASSETs+ at the iMUGS demonstration in Belgium

Our partner Royal Military Academy (RMA) presented the ASSETs+ project during the social event after the fourth demonstration of the robots by the Belgian Army, part of the European iMUGS project (integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System), that took place last June, 2 at Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium.

RMA Team wins the II edition of the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge

Interview with the winners of the II edition of the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge: Andreas Wouters and Nathan Prakopetz from the Royal Military Academy, Belgium (RMA).

We – sub lieutenant KBO Andreas Wouters and adjutant KBO Nathan Prakopetz – decided in November 2021 to participate together in the European Defence Challenge. The theme of this competition was ‘Remote everything? To what extent can unmanned assets interact with humans in the field for defence operations?’.

Despite the fact that RMA is a small community, we were strangers to each other at the start of the competition. The foundation of our cooperation is a shared interest in anti-aircraft artillery. Gradually, we became passionate about the dangers of hypersonic missiles. In the first phase of the competition, we had to write a short essay. In the second phase, the best 25 teams were selected to write a ten-page paper on their respective topic. In total, there were 130 entries from 16 European countries. In the final phase, three finalist teams gave a short presentation on their respective topics. After this, the organisers awarded us the first place, of which we are extremely proud.

What is so special about hypersonic missiles?

Hypersonic missiles are guided missiles that are very worrying because of two characteristics. On the one hand because of their hypersonic speed – higher than Mach 5. On the other hand because of their unpredictable trajectory in the atmosphere. These two characteristics together make it impossible for existing air defence systems to stop this type of missile. At the start of this research, this hypersonic technology was somewhat futuristic. The European Defence Agency classified it as an Emerging Disruptive Technology in 2021. However, on March 18, 2022, Russia for the first time used a hypersonic missile in operation, as part of their war in Ukraine. This first deployment in operation underlines the need for a modern air defence system to protect European airspace against modern, complex air threats.

What is the solution?

Bringing modern air defence systems up to the hypersonic level requires hardware and software upgrades. Increased autonomy plays a crucial role in minimising the time between the detection of an enemy hypersonic missile and firing an intercepting missile. However, we must not forget that technological advances take place in a multidimensional context. In the realisation of new technology, legal, ethical, sociological and economic aspects, among others, must be considered.

What made us a successful team?

For a multidimensional problem, a multidisciplinary team is the solution. We both follow a totally different academic track. Nathan is a student of the 174th Polytechnics (=Engineering) Promotion. With his academic knowledge of the exact sciences, he took care of the technical side of the research. Andreas is a pupil of the 158th Promotion in Social and Military Sciences. During his academic career, he has studied a broad spectrum of human sciences. This allowed him to analyse the impact of increasing autonomy in air defence systems on our society. As a team, we complemented each other perfectly. By bringing together the knowledge of both faculties, we outdid ourselves. This was the ‘secret’ ingredient for our victory.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Our cooperation was not easy. Andreas spent the second semester at the United States Military Academy of West Point. Because of this, we always had to take into account the six-hour time difference when scheduling a video call. Nathan was our spokesperson on the home front, liaising with the RMA professors. During our weekly video calls, there was always a short debriefing of our individual progress. Throughout the process, we were supported by both our academic and military staff. We would like to explicitly mention Colonel Johan Gallant, professor in the department of weapon systems and ballistics.

Next year another European Defence Challenge will be organised. We hope that our success story will motivate other students to sign up and experience for themselves that an inter-faculty & multi-disciplinary project is enriching in all respects.

Eager to serve, willing to learn!
Andreas and Nathan

  • Download their proposal here.
  • Watch their presentation here.

Meet the winners of the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge II edition!

The ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge (EDC) is an open competition to attract young talent to the Defence industry and to encourage them to initiate a career in defence-related technologies.

In this II edition of the Challenge, 130 registered students from 16 different countries were asked to share their vision on the topic ‘Remote everything? To what extent can unmanned assets interact with humans in the field for defence operations?’.

The EDC II edition Awards Ceremnoy took place last Friday, with the presence of highly relevant speakers from the European Commission DG Defence Industry & Space, the European Defence Agency, the European Parliament, and universities and industry partners of the ASSETs+ consortium.

It is a pleasure to announce that the winners of the EDC II edition are…

WINNING TEAM

Andreas Wouters & Nathan Prakopetz, from the Royal Military Academy (Brussels).

Their proposal, “Autonomy in Air Defence Systems”, analyses the problematic characteristics of hypersonic missiles and how these missiles manage to evade air defence systems.

  • Download the essay here.
  • Watch their presentation here.

FINALISTS

Susanna Hein & Emilien Maquaire, from Sciences Po Lille (France).

Their proposal,  “Human-Robot teaming Research Initiative for a Combat Aerial Network (HURRICANE)”, outlines the opportunities and challenges that robotics and artificial intelligence technologies offer for future air combat by indicating how we can gain an advantage through human machine teams.

  • Download the essay here.
  • Watch their presentation here.

FINALISTS

Anaëlle Salamon from Sciences Po Lille (France) & Sinan Bekka from University of Edinburgh (UK).

Their proposal is a three-step development program of European Defensive Autonomous Submarine Systems (EURO DASS) which will follow strict principles and hopefully will set a precedent for the making of unmanned systems in defence operations.

  • Download the essay here.
  • Watch their presentation here. 

SPECIAL MENTION TO YOUNG STUDENTS

In this edition there has been also a special mention to the best essay from students up to 20 years, and the winners are:

Carlos Daniel Farias, from the University of Cadiz (Spain), & Carlos Thurn, from Nordakademie (Germany).

Their proposal “Can I trust you? An AI for secure, authenticated communication” aims to create a method of secure communication between two or more individual parties in order to allow interaction of human and machine for the application in the defence field. In order to achieve this, a combination of encryption and identity authentication will be implemented.

  • Download the essay here.
  • Watch their presentation here.

Congratulations!

You can watch the full Awards Ceremony below:

We invite you to join us for the next edition EDC III. The topic will be announced soon.

Stay tuned!

Download the press release here.

Join us for the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge II edition Awards Ceremony next May 27th!

The European Defence Challenge (EDC) is an open competition to attract young talent to the Defence industry and to encourage them to initiate a career in defence-related technologies. The challenge asks European students to propose one or more work approaches dealing with topics such as artificial intelligence, sensor technologies, autonomous vehicles, data science, cybersecurity, chip technologies, control, robotics, signal and image processing, and defence-related technologies.

This edition topic is: Remote everything? To what extent can unmanned assets interact with humans in the field for defence operations?

The EDC II Awards Ceremony, will be streamed online through YouTube on May 27th with the presence of highly relevant speakers. Join us and meet the winners of this edition!

AGENDA

16:30 Engagement of talents through the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge

Mateo BurgosUniversidad Politecnica de Madrid, EDC II organizer

16:37 Keynote speakers from the European Parliament

Lukas MandlMember of the European Parliament, Vice President of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Michael Gahler, Member of the European Parliament, Subcommittee on Security and Defence

16:47 Keynote speaker from the European Commission

Christina WilenPolicy Officer DG Defence Industry & Space, European Commission

16:50 Keynote speaker from the European Defence Agency

Daniel MosqueraProject Officer Air Systems Technologies. European Defence Agency EDA

16:55 Keynote speaker from the Defence Industry

Maurizio BettaHead of Learning & People Development at Leonardo

17:00 Presentation of the EDC II finalists
17:20 Announcement of the winners with participation of the Institutions’ representatives
17:30 Special mention Young Students’ Award
17:40 Final Remarks

Gualtiero Fantoni, University of Pisa, ASSETs+ Coordinator

Add to your calendar

ASSETs+ Education & Training: Next Courses

European Defence industry is struggling in finding well-suited workers to ensure its leadership, competitiveness, and sustainability. In addition, there are many prejudices about Defence activities, however this industry is always at the frontiers of innovation offering the more advanced technologies and a very international and multidisciplinary environment.

The ASSETs+ project is working to explode the myths and biases around the Defence sector and designing new courses and challenges able to attract students’ attention.

ASSETs+ Prototype Programmes

The ASSETs+ prototype programmes aim to provide trainees with new skills and knowledge related to key technologies that will be expected in Defence sector in the coming years, more particularly Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, C4ISTAR and Cybersecurity. 

With the perspective of a replication in other contexts, courses providers will gather multiple information and suggestions to improve the content and format of the courses.

The courses are designed for:

  • Professionals working in Defence and AeroSpace Industry (up-skilling and re-skilling activities) 
  • University Students (3rd year of Licence and 1st year of Master)
  • Graduate University Students (2nd year of Master)


WHO CAN PARTICIPATE
Partners
of the ASSETs+ consortium and associated stakeholders.

WHEN ARE THE COURSES?
Running now finishing in June 2022.

Next Courses

IMPORTANT: These prototype programmes are EXCLUSIVE FOR partners of the ASSETs+ consortium and associated stakeholders.

Do you want to join the ASSETs+ Stakeholders Group and become part of our ecosystem?

Workshop ‘Inspiring a more diverse and inclusive future for the Defence, Aeronautics and Space sectors’

In order to celebrate the EU Diversity Month and address the topics of the recently-launched Union of Equality survey, the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space of the European Commission (DG DEFIS), has organized a workshop that aims at discussing with relevant actors the current situation and the future challenges related to diversity and inclusion in the Defence, Aeronautics and Space sectors.

The European Commission’s strategy targets discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. In this regard, the scope of this workshop is that of gathering feedbacks and information coming from the Defence, Aeronautics and Space industries, as well as sharing the best practices employed to tackle inequality and allow for diversity and inclusion.

The workshop will therefore feature both high-level professionals from these sectors and representatives of NGOs and associations active in the promotion and safeguard of equality in the European Union.

Programme

Welcome & Introduction

15.00 – 15.05

Session 1

15.05 – 15.45

-Why is data important for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion mainstreaming?

-Importance of data to streamline and shape policies for future generations, and presentation of DG DEFIS’ new survey on equality, diversity and inclusion

Session 2

15.45 – 16.25

-Barriers to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and how to overcome them

-Discussion and votes with participants on Sli.do on how to foster a better culture towards diversity, inclusion and equality in organisations in these sectors

Conclusion

16.25 – 16.30

ASSETs+ has participated in the EDUCON 2022 conference

The IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) is the flagship of the IEEE Education Society, a worldwide community of professionals dedicated to ensure high-quality education in science and engineering.

Held every year since 2010, EDUCON provides an opportunity to scientists, professional engineers and students to present their work, publish their results, exchange ideas and network for future scientific and industrial collaborations.

The conference serves as a catalyst for connecting local and international stakeholders hence adding value to the global dialogue on how to positively contribute to the solution of the world’s engineering education.

EDUCON 2022 took place in an hybrid format (online and in-person), in Tunisia, on 28-31 March 2022.

Our partner Irene Spada, from the University of Pisa, presented the work “On the link between Education and Industry 4.0: a framework for a data-driven design”, representing as co-authors Gualtiero Fantoni, ASSETs+ Project Coordinator, Filippo Chiarello, Assistant professor at the School of Engineering, and Alessandra Curreli.

You can watch her presentation below:

The ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge 2nd edition enters its final stretch

The European Defence Challenge II edition (EDC II) contestants have already presented their final proposals addressing innovative uses of unmanned technology for defence. The jury has now the difficult task of selecting the winner teams that will be announced during the Awards Ceremony, to be held online on May 27th, 16:30 CET, with the presence of highly relevant speakers.

The European Defence Challenge is an open competition to attract young talent to the Defence industry and to encourage them to initiate a career in defence-related technologies. The challenge asks European students to propose one or more work approaches dealing with topics such as artificial intelligence, sensor technologies, autonomous vehicles, data science, cybersecurity, chip technologies, control, robotics, signal and image processing, and defence-related technologies.

This edition topic is: Remote everything? To what extent can unmanned assets interact with humans in the field for defence operations?

AGENDA May 27th.

16:30 Engagement of talents through the ASSETs+ European Defence Challenge

  • Mateo Burgos, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, EDC II organizer
16:40 Keynote speakers from the European Parliament

  • Mr Michael Gahler,Member of the European Parliament, Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Mr Lukas Mandl, Member of the European Parliament, Vice President of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence
16:50 Keynote speaker from the European Defence Agency

  • Daniel Mosquera, Project Officer Air Systems Technologies. European Defence Agency EDA
16:55 Keynote speaker from the Defence Industry

  • Maurizio Betta, Head of Learning & People Development at Leonardo
17:00  Presentation of the EDC II finalists
17:20 Announcement of the winners with participation of the Institutions’ representatives
17:30 Special mention Young Students’ Award
17:40 Final Remarks

  • Gualtiero Fantoni, University of Pisa, ASSETs+ Coordinator

Join the ASSETs+ stakeholders group!

The fast pace of technological evolution leads to challenges in finding workers with the right skills, as these are constantly changing.

ASSETs+ aims to build a sustainable human resources supply chain for the European Defence Industry, that boosts innovation by both attracting highly-skilled young workers and upskilling its employees.

Complementary education & training programmes are addressing the following main technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, C4ISTAR and Cybersecurity. Learn more here.

ASSETs+ is built on close collaboration between the Defence Industry, sectoral organisations, Higher Education Institutions, Vocational Education and Training providers and research centres, with 30 partners from 8 countries and a broader ecosystem of stakeholders.

By registering as a stakeholder, you will contribute to the identification of the future skills of Defence Sector and you will have the possibility to be more closely involved in a wide range of activities and development of the project.

Why should you participate?

– Contribute to defining the new ASSETs+ Sectoral Skills Strategy for the Defence sector

– Have the skills needs of your institution covered

– Possibility to participate in pilot implementations

– Networking and exchange of information regarding the skills agenda in Defence sector

What is required of you?

– Voluntary involvement

– Engagement free of charge

– Optional participation to online surveys, workshops and review of outcomes


Now available the ASSETs+ Job Profiles, Technologies & Skills Roadmap

The ASSETs+ roadmap is built around the Human Resources, one of the fundamental capabilities, together with technological means, for the European autonomy and sovereignty. It includes the most relevant job profiles, the most relevant skills for each job profile and the most relevant technologies, emerging from the analysis done by the ASSETs+ project team.

The technologies are positioned around the job profiles, considering the importance of a technology for a given job, and along the radial dimension, considering the level of maturity of a technology. In this way, the technologies, the skills, and the job profiles are distributed in four main areas, that describe the most relevant capabilities for the Defence sector with particular reference to the technological domains of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, C4ISTAR and Cybersecurity.