Technology and Innovation in Defense
New technologies in the defense industry were at the center of the discussion organized at the Delphi Economic Forum under the auspices of SA. of the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
Patrick Defranoux, CEO of Thales, spoke about the rich experience of the Thales company that counts 40 whole years in Greece, creating high quality technological systems.
He stated that the company's strategy is every time in the country that operates to seek a local presence and in this context it cooperates in Greece with small and medium enterprises engaged in the defense industry. He spoke of a large footprint of Thales in our country, which offers many business opportunities in the field of defense.
Mr. Defranoux briefly presented his company's contribution to the country's defense, which includes combat management systems, wireless and radar and other specialized equipment.
However, their contribution is not limited, as he noted, to the armed forces since the company contributes with its technology to air traffic control systems and other systems for the railway network and the metro of the capital.
For his part, Sr. EFA GROUP partner, Nikos Papatsas, stressed that innovation and high technology translate into increased capabilities and greater competitiveness of the armed forces and become an essential tool in the complex and changing environment we live in.
"We need armaments programs that will consolidate new alliances," he said, stressing that the Greek defense industry and other domestic efforts have a dual purpose as they both create jobs and contribute to the acquisition of know-how. Referring to the data field, he said that the way they are collected and managed has changed dramatically thanks to technology in recent years, stressing that the future of military operations lies in better and more secure collection and management of information.
"Our developments prove the potential of the Greek defense industry to undertake large projects of demands", he noted, adding that domestic companies can easily compete with foreign ones and at the same time have the advantage of locality.
"We are the largest defense industry in Greece," said INTRACOM Defense CEO George Troullinos, noting that the company has 7% of its research and development turnover. An innovative domestic defense industry not only increases the country's potential, but also functions, as he explained, as a pole of attraction for foreign investment.
"Where this has happened, it has done its best," he said, citing examples such as Saudi Arabia, which mandates domestic production to cover 50% of its equipment, or Germany, which requires foreign suppliers to bring know-how and production to the country.
Mr. Troullinos pointed out, however, that the levels of research and innovation in Greece fall far short of the European average and as one of the main reasons he mentioned the non-implementation of the relevant legislation. As of 2001, there is legislation stipulating that 1% of the value of armaments programs will go to research, but in fact this law has never been implemented, as he underlined. But if this happens in combination with the European resources that exist, Greece will be able to recover and approach the European average.
The former General Director of GDAEE, Theodoros Lagios, spoke about the innovation on the verge of the 4th industrial revolution, emphasizing that it brings a wave of radical changes in every operational sector and together in the defense capabilities. He focused on the important and growing role of artificial intelligence that reduces the involvement of the human factor, while at the same time offering the prospect of a new strategy, that of technological superiority.
He also referred to the great lack of resources brought about by the economic crisis and then the pandemic and noted that state funding "is not a panacea". He also stressed the dual nature of these new technologies in the military and civilian fields and stressed the need for cooperation and mutual transfer of know-how. In Greece, as he said, the main bodies of research and innovation are the Academic organizations and the small or medium enterprises and this fact strengthens the need for collaborations even more. Finally, he spoke about the new challenges that make cross-border cooperation a top priority.
The discussion was moderated by Faidon Karaiosifidis, Director of Flight Magazine