NATO Innovation Challenge Finalists, Photo: Rūta Verseckaitė

Lithuania – an emerging player in European Defence Landscape

June 20, 2024

Lithuania asserts itself as a new key player in the European defence sector through significant collaborations and technological advancements. Recent developments with German defence industry giant Rheinmetall and the triumph of Lithuanian startup Broswarm at the 14th edition of the NATO Innovation Challenge highlight this strategic shift of the country’s prospective defence ecosystem.   

On June 12th, Broswarm, a Vilnius-based startup specializing in landmine detection, clinched first place at the 14th edition of the NATO Innovation Challenge, focusing on the critical issue of Remote Explosive-Contaminated Area Recognition and Neutralization. Among other finalists from countries such as the USA, the UK, France, Belgium and Latvia, five Lithuanian companies made it to the finals. The second place and a $2,500 prize went to a local firm, Unmanned Dynamics, and the third one with a $1,000 prize to the French AAEG.   

Broswarm was recognized for its innovative solution and pioneering drone-based landmine detection, unveiling for the first time “X-Ray Eagle”, a new technology combining GPR with mSAR (Miniscale Synthetic Aperture Radar), permitting the detection of shapes and objects underground.   

ScaleWolf, a dual-use tech VC fund and accelerator, has recently invested $100,000 in Broswarm, underscoring its commitment to supporting solutions that address global security challenges. As Ernestas Žvaigždinas, co-founder of Broswarm, emphasized:   

Over 6,000 people die in the world every year from landmines: half of these fatalities are children, occurring in territories even ten years post-conflict. Furthermore, Ukraine is now the most contaminated country globally, and the figures are likely to worsen. It's crucial to note that the contaminated land in Ukraine is among the most fertile regions, vital for feeding not only the local population but also third countries. This land needs urgent decontamination. Current estimates suggest the cleanup could take over 700 years. Additionally, the tactical implications are significant, as mines greatly influence the ongoing conflict, especially slowing counter-attacks.
Ernestas Žvaigždinas, co-founder of Broswarm

This event follows the news of Rheinmetall’s agreement with Lithuania, declared earlier this month. With an investment of more than EUR 180M, the new plant is also expected to create at least 150 new jobs. The project represents a substantial commitment to the local defence sector, as part of Lithuania’s broader strategy to foster a robust defence ecosystem, capable of contributing to regional and global security challenges.  

The Minister of Economy and Innovation, Aušrinė Armonaitė underlined the significance of these developments:  

The turnover of Lithuania’s defence sector has doubled over five years to 700 million euros, with a 14% increase in employees in this field. Rheinmetall establishing operations in Lithuania will help us to ensure uninterrupted access to essential weapons and ammunition, whilst companies such as the ones participating in the NATO Innovation Challenge demonstrate the immense potential of our country’s defence technology and innovation sector. Recognition in the NATO Challenge will open even more international opportunities to contribute to the security of Lithuania and our allies.
The Minister of Economy and Innovation, Aušrinė Armonaitė

The Ministry of Economy and Innovation already signed contracts for 14 large-scale investment projects within the “Green Corridor” initiative, which will create nearly 4,000 jobs and attract more than €1.25 billion in investment.   

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Aistė Žebrauskienė
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    Aistė Žebrauskienė Press Officer
    Thank you!

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