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Defence Industry and Space

European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP)

The European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) is an industrial programme of the EU supporting the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union’s defence industry.


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EDIDP, with a financial envelope of €500 million for 2019-2020, was the first ever EU grant programme targeting capability development and co-financing the joint development of (new and upgrading of existing) defence products and technologies. EDIDP was one of two precursor programmes of the European Defence Fund.

EDIDP Objectives

  • To foster cooperation between undertakings and Member States, in the development of defence products or technologies.
  • Supporting the competitiveness of the European defence industry on the internal market and the global marketplace.
  • To support and leverage cross-border cooperation between undertakings, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and middle capitalization companies (mid-caps), throughout the Union.
  • To foster better exploitation of the results of defence research and prepare the development window of the EDF from 2021 onwards. 

EDIDP Scale and scope

  • Types of eligible actions varied from feasibility studies to certification and standardisation, while financing rates for actions prior to and beyond to the prototype phase were up to 100% and for prototype phase up to 20%.
  • Supporting SMEs: Special incentivizes to stimulate SMEs participation, cross-border cooperation and opening up supply-chains by providing higher financing rates and favouring projects by consortia, which include SMEs.
  • Higher priority for the projects established under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework. PESCO projects eligible under the Fund may receive higher EU co-funding rate (10%).
  • The programme is implemented, except in the case of direct awards, under direct management by the Commission through annual calls for proposals (published in 2019 and in 2020). The calls for proposals based on a 2-year work programme defined in close cooperation with the Member States, adopted by the European Commission on 19 March 2019.
  • Calls were defined along priorities set with Member States in line with defence capability priorities agreed by Member States, taking into account other regional and international organisation priorities if not affecting the EU and its Member States security.


  • Only collaborative projects, involving at least three eligible entities from at least three Member States may recieve funding.
  • Participation of entities from other countries is subject to conditions defined to ensure the security and defence interests of the EU and its Member States. They also guarantee the freedom of action of Member States in the use and export of resulting defence equipment.

More information

European Defence Industrial Development Programme calls for proposals 2020

The European Union allocates €158.3 million to 26 projects as results of the 12 calls released in 2020.

Results of the EDIDP 2020 calls show an increased interest in the programme and correspondence to the Programme objectives:

  • Response rate has doubled: the EDIDP 2020 calls attracted almost twice as many proposals (63) compared to 2019, covering all calls and topics published in 2020.
  • In total, 717 entities (with possible duplications) applied. 26 proposals involving 420 entities (with possible duplications) have been selected for funding.
  • Increased defence cooperation in the EU and cross-border cooperation: The proposals selected for funding entail on average 16 entities located in 7 Member States.
  • Wide geographical coverage: the EDIDP projects involve participants from 26 Member States, including United Kingdom.
  • Highly attractive and inclusive for SMEs: SMEs represent 35% of the total number of entities (with duplicates) receiving 30% of total funding from EDIDP.
  • Targeting innovation: 30 out of 63 proposals received address the development of innovative and future-oriented defence products and technologies under the SME open call.
  • Full coherence with other EU defence initiatives, notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO): 15 of the selected projects are also addressed within the PESCO framework.
  • Contribution to the EU’s strategic autonomy: proposals consistent with the key capability priorities agreed by Member States at European level through the Capability Development Plan.
  • Open programme: 10 entities controlled by third-countries or third-countries entities involved in proposals proposed for funding (India, Israel, Japan, Oman, Switzerland and United States).


More information

European Defence Industrial Development Programme calls for proposals 2019

The 2019 calls for proposals and outline of the 9 categories and topics.


The Commission received 40 proposals covering all calls published in 2019. In summer 2020, the Commission awarded 16 selected projects from 2019 calls and for the first time ever, Union budget was used to co-fund collaborative development of defence technologies and products. The results showed success. EDIDP is genuinely a European programme, with a very broad geographical coverage.


Direct award

The EDIDP Regulation foresees solutions to award projects through direct award if there is not any other competitive consortia in the EU. In the EDIDP work programme, due the high strategic importance of the two projects, ESSOR (European Secure Software defined Radio) and MALE RPAS (European Medium-altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft system) were identified.

These direct award projects will be managed by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement) based on the contribution agreements between the Commission and OCCAR signed on 20 November 2020.

Two major capability development projects with high strategic importance receiving €137 million grants as direct awards under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP):

  • MALE RPAS (Eurodrone), supporting the development of a medium-altitude and long-endurance drone.
  • ESSOR, to boost the EU’s armed forces interoperability trough the development of a European standard in relation cutting-edge communication technologies (software radios).

Both projects are strategic enablers for European defence, are considered flagships for the European strategic autonomy in their respective domains, and are going to be developed in the context of PESCO. Special attention has been paid to inclusiveness and the openness of the supply chain.

Factsheet MALE RPAS
Factsheet ESSOR


Useful links

European Defence Industrial Development Programme established by Regulation (EU) 2018/1092 regulation: Regulation (EU) 2018/1092 on competitiveness and innovation in defence

  • Proposal for regulation establishing the European defence industrial development programme aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the EU of 7 June 2017