The European Commission has selected the SEA Defence project coordinated by Damen Shipyards Group within its European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP 2019). SEA Defence is unique in that it brings together European naval yards, which will together identify technological challenges and opportunities in the research and capability domains for the next generation naval platforms.

The EDIDP, which paves the way for the European Defence Fund, focuses on the promotion of a strong and innovative defence industry as well as on raising the EU’s autonomy and technological leadership in defence. SEA Defence stands for Survivability, Electrification, Automation, Detectability, Enabling Foresight of European Naval Capabilities in Extreme conditions. The proposal for this project will now enter the next phase towards award of the project, which is likely to be effective later this year.

The European naval yards are brought together within SEA Naval, a working group of SEA Europe association. SEA Defence is supported by participating EU member states, led by the Dutch Ministry of Defence, ensuring that the research initiatives and capabilities derived thereof will effectively result in strengthening European naval forces against potential future threats.

The consortium consists of the following partners:

  • Damen Shipyards Group, Netherlands
  • Fincantieri S.P.A., Italy
  • Naval Group SA, France
  • Navantia, S.A., S.M.E., Spain
  • Saab Kockums AB, Sweden
  • SEA Europe, Belgium
  • Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, Germany
  • Odense Maritime Technology, Denmark
  • Lürssen Defence, Germany
  • TNO, Netherlands
  • MARIN, Netherlands
  • CTN, Spain


The SEA Defence project will conduct a feasibility study in order to prepare a roadmap of technologies to be included in the next generation of naval platforms and pursued in further European development programmes. The study will address the following issues: lower detectability, higher survivability against modern surface and subsurface threats including against high-speed and swarming threats, reduction of ship motions, improved electric power generation and storage, capability to operate in extreme climates, topside and increased autonomy and automation.

For each area, the project will map the state-of-the-art technologies, and will assess the impact of ship integration on capabilities, budget and interfaces. It will also provide recommendations in order that the European naval shipbuilding sector can realise innovations ready for the next generation naval platforms, from their design or during their lifecycle.

Damen Shipyards Group is grateful to the European Commission for bringing this opportunity of collaboration to the European naval industry. The project’s formal awarding procedure now enters the final stretch to fulfil several administrative obligations, with a view to start off in the next months.

Also read: European naval shipbuilding in search of synergy