OCCAR and EDA explained

The Airbus A400M Atlas turboprop airlifter programme is one of several initiatives which has been managed through OCCAR. (OCCAR)

European Union (EU) member states’ willingness to participate in cooperative defence equipment programmes is supported by two organisations; the EDA and OCCAR.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR/Joint Organisation for Armament Coopperation). Although established by the EU member states of Beglium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom OCCAR is an independent international organisation. Instead the EDA, the hub of EU defence cooperation, is a European Council agency, funded by the EU member states.

The EDA tends to follow the entire life cycle of a product from design to acquisition, while OCCAR specialises in the coordination and management of complex programmes at advanced stages. As the EDA and OCCAR share the common goal of promoting defence cooperation, specific administrative and security arrangements enable their collaboration. As confirmed by an EDA source, member states participating in a joint programme can explicitly request that the EDA prepares a a programme the management of which could be handed over to OCCAR later. Conversely, according to the second process, OCCAR programmes can benefit from EDA incentives, know-how and expertise.

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Giulia Tilenni is a contributing analyst for diverse leading journals specialised in defence technology and defence issues. She works on European Union defence and security trends, budgetary issues, and members' national security dilemmas, as well as the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle market and technological trends. @gtilenni