Latvian Defense Ministry hands out innovation grants

The Ministry of Defense (AM) has allocated EUR 450,000 in grants to seven Latvian companies for the development of innovative products related to the defense sector, Latvian Radio reported March 7.

The aim of the grant program is to bring researchers together with the industry, said Jānis Garisons, the ministry's secretary of state. During the implementation of the projects, National Armed Forces (NBS) experts advise companies. The interest from companies is high and most projects result in the development of an innovative product, said Garisons.

“I would say that overall the results we've obtained are more than satisfactory. Of course, our goal is that these products then become exportable as well. The Latvian market is not big enough to make a decent profit and to maintain large production plants in the long term. The specific nature of the military industry is that it is very difficult to sell equipment or technology to another country if the state army itself does not use it,” said Garisons.

Latvia's NBS has tested all products, recognized them as good, and chosen to use them in their arms.

Elīna Egle, Chair of the Board of the Latvian Federation for Security and Defence Industries, stressed the importance of grants for companies working in the field of defense during this pandemic. The interest and participation of entrepreneurs in the AM grant program are increasing. Egle said that before the war in Ukraine, experienced companies could mostly afford to invest in defense products, so it is a good sign that new companies and engineers also get involved in the grant. 

The grant has been given to Scand Beton Ltd for the development of a mobile container for material-technical equipment storage; Temeso Ltd for unmanned target platform development using biodegradable materials; LV Teh Ltd for the development of a field combat system; SRC Brasa Ltd for an online mapping system for unmanned aircraft; Zel&K Ltd for the development of a tent material and design; Belss Ltd for remote-controlled weaponry system and Teters Ltd for the development of explosives.

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