Saturday, December 10, 2022

NATO looks for ideas from startups to process radar data

NATO announced that the Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is looking for ideas from startups, inventors and innovators for new technologies to process radar data and give the Alliance a clearer picture of activities in our skies.

Through the challenge, the NCI Agency aims to incentivize innovations that could be scaled to the NATO environment. Startups and small and medium-sized enterprises from all 30 NATO Nations are particularly encouraged to apply.

“We are excited to pilot this new way of bringing tangible solutions to NATO problems,” said Dr Michael Street, Head of Innovation and Data Science at the NCI Agency. “The Defence Innovation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to show the users directly how your innovative technological solution could improve this aspect of radar performance.”


The focus of the challenge is on improving distributed radar data processing, and the aim is to ensure that NATO’s air operations can tap into the latest technologies available in the defence sector and beyond. The most promising pitches could get access to funding and could be integrated in NATO systems within the next 12 months.

Solutions may use artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms or other technologies. “We are looking for ideas with the potential to make a step-change in our ability to detect and understand activity in NATO’s airspace,” said Dr Michael Street, Head of Innovation and Data Science at the NCI Agency.

The deadline for applications is 15 June 2020. The most innovative, practical and cost-effective solutions will be evaluated in a virtual pitch session in late summer. The selection board will include experts in air command and control, radar and data science from across NATO and from AFWERX, a United States Air Force organization focused on innovation, which is the NCI Agency’s partner in this challenge.

This is the fifth Defence Innovation Challenge organised by the NCI Agency, and a part of the Agency’s efforts to bring concrete and innovative solutions to NATO’s technological challenges and needs.

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Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.