Villamandos highlights that this initiative will allow the community to be “highly competitive” in attracting resources from the European Defense Fund 2021-2027

The Regional Ministry of University, Research and Innovation is working to turn the community into the first innovative node in defense in Spain, as highlighted by the counselor José Carlos Gómez Villamandos, who has ensured that this commitment will allow Andalusia to be “highly competitive” to obtain the resources assigned to the European Defense Fund 2021-2027 and launch new projects and investments. This European instrument, with nearly 8,000 million euros global budget, is aimed at supporting research, with an endowment of 2,651 million euros, and innovation, with 5,302 million, in this field.

Gómez Villamandos has remarked that this European financing will be “a unique opportunity” for the agents of the Andalusian knowledge system and SMEs, since “they are resources that will be used for innovation and disruptive technology, favoring the implementation of collaborative projects that significantly boost future capabilities across the EU,” he added.

In his opinion, defense is “a thriving sector, which especially in Andalusia has a pioneering and world leading innovative industry, whose developments are at some point applicable to the daily life of society.” It is a key segment of the economy, since it promotes progress and generates business traction, directly or indirectly, in other sectors, while promoting qualified employment and territorial cohesion. For all these reasons, he explained that the regional Executive has begun to develop a series of initiatives aimed at reinforcing this line of work. Among them, the preparation of a map to identify all the actors involved stands out with the aim of connecting all the specialized knowledge in this matter with the productive fabric and carrying out innovative actions and ideas.

Likewise, the Regional Minister of University has pointed out that Andalusia is the region of Spain in which this sector is fully developed at three levels: experimental, business and military. The Region has experimental centers, companies, universities and agents of the Andalusian knowledge system, which, together with different military units, make innovation and the defense industry a backbone. In the business field, there is an important fabric in provinces such as Cádiz, with Navantia, among others; Seville, with, for example, Airbus, Santa Bárbara Sistemas or Iturri; Malaga, with MADES; or Granada, where, among others, the Granada Ammunition Factory of the Slovak company MSM GROUP is located. Together with them, the maritime-naval cluster in Cádiz and the Andalucía Aerospace cluster in Seville carry out their work.

Similarly, this business strength is complemented by other prominent agents such as experimental centers, including the Center for Experimental Flights of Unmanned Vehicles in Villacarrillo (Jaén), which the Board will support in 2023 with funding of 450,000 euros. Also included in this section are the four centers of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA): the Center for Experimentation of Aerospace Vehicles and Atmospheric Research in Arenosillo (Huelva), the one related to the development work of the Airbus A400 (Seville) , the Torregorda Test Center (Cádiz) and the flight experimentation test center for aircraft certification (Granada).

This framework is completed with the location in the region of experimental military units such as Brigade 2035 in Almería and the future Army Logistics Base in Córdoba.

Participation of Andalusia in the International Defense and Security Fair

On the other hand, the Regional Ministry of University considers it a priority to publicize this cohesive ecosystem that Andalusia has, as well as the excellence and quality of its research and innovative activity. To this end, the Junta will participate this year for the first time in the International Defense and Security Fair with an institutional stand, through the Andalusian Knowledge Agency.

This stand will support members of the Andalusian knowledge system, including Andalusian universities, the aerospace and naval cluster. With this, the aim is to give visibility to the scientific and technical R+D+I activities of Andalusia in the industry sector in general and security in particular. This participation is also related to holding different meetings in which to interconnect and enhance synergies between the apeople from the Andalusian knowledge system, experimental and technological centers and companies.