Title: “Cyprus’ Emerging Defense Industry: The key is Innovation and Growth”
In a world where the traditional defense industry is undergoing dramatic shifts, Cyprus is emerging as a surprising hub of innovation in the field. In an interview with Phileleftheros, the current chairman of the Cyprus Defence Industry Cluster, Tasos Kounoudis, Tasos Kounoudis explains that the Cyprus Defence Industry is young but growing strong.
Today, Cyprus boasts a dynamic, innovative, and rapidly growing indigenous defense industry equipped with high-tech infrastructure, specialized knowledge, and international partnerships crucial to the nation. Approximately 30 Cypriot technology companies are engaged in the defense sector, designing, producing, and exporting primarily dual-use products that can be applied both in military and civilian contexts.
In recent years, Cypriot companies have achieved significant success by participating in the development and co-production of next-generation European defense systems in collaboration with major European defense industries. These endeavors have been supported by the European Industrial Development in Defense Program (EDIDP) since 2019 and the European Defense Fund (EDF) since 2021. These programs fund European consortia to conduct defense research, design, development, and industrialization of innovative European defense products, enhancing the competitiveness of the European defense technology and industrial base in the international market.
With the backing of the Ministry of Defense, Cypriot companies have secured participation in 17 contracts for the development of new European defense systems, totaling €172.5 million. This accomplishment places Cyprus firmly on the map of the European defense industry.
Cyprus’ defense industry has developed the necessary technological infrastructure, expertise, and capabilities to participate as a producer in the European defense supply chain. Cypriot businesses are proud to pioneer cutting-edge technologies, including intelligent unmanned ground, maritime, and aerial vehicles, advanced radar systems with over-the-horizon target detection capabilities, integrated anti-drone systems, cybersecurity platforms, early target detection systems, interference-resistant communication technologies; maritime surveillance systems, and advanced military communication systems.
Today, Cyprus is well-equipped to support its National Guard not only in designing and developing operational solutions but also in maintaining and upgrading systems. However, a key challenge remains the lack of trust from the state itself—a challenge not uncommon for young industries. As Tasos Kounoudis highlights in his interview, harnessing the full potential of Cypriot technologies and capabilities in the European defense sector, expanding into foreign markets, and gaining access to domestic markets should now be a priority.
In conclusion, Cyprus’ defense industry is rapidly transforming, marked by innovation and international collaboration. Its ability to adapt to the changing landscape of defense technology makes it a noteworthy player in the European defense arena. As the nation continues to invest in this burgeoning sector, it is poised to make significant contributions to both national security and the European defense industry as a whole.