At the event held before the NATO summit, Lithuania demonstrated leadership in the field of defense innovation and presented practical technologies developed by Lithuanian SMEs, which are also used during the war in Ukraine. With large venture capital funds and a focus on dual-use technologies, Lithuania promotes innovation and strengthens its defense capabilities.
In order for all countries of the world to catch up with the rapid development of warfare and defense, Lithuania demonstrates leadership in the field of defense innovation. On the eve of the NATO summit, Lithuanian defense innovations used in Ukraine were presented and it was revealed how new technologies are changing the nature of warfare.
Leaders of the innovations
in 2023 July 10 At the event “Innovation & Investments for Defense, Deterrence & Security” held in Vilnius before the NATO summit, 1 billion was newly allocated. Andrea Traversone, Executive Director of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF), emphasized the important role of innovations in NATO. “Innovations and new technologies must be developed responsibly, guided by the key principles of NATO democracies and the NIF mission: security, freedom and empowerment”, said A. Traversone.
Traversone, speaking publicly for the first time, also said that small countries are very inventive and have every opportunity to become leaders in innovation, because the solutions created here are immediately presented to the whole world.
Introducing advanced innovations
Many innovative solutions developed by Lithuanian SMEs were presented at the event, covering the spheres of electronic warfare, long-range initiators, anti-drone solutions, and space lasers.
As confirmed by Dominykas Milašius, venture capital partner of Baltic Sandbox Ventures, “These new technological solutions not only help the Ukrainian forces to continue the counterattack, but also present a new model of warfare that can be useful to all NATO members.” Some of them are already proving the value of their technology on the front lines.”
For example, Astrolight, a company founded by scientists from the Center for Physical and Technological Sciences and VilniusTECH, develops free space optical communication systems with higher security and data throughput compared to radio communication tools. The company is currently preparing to develop a laser satellite communication system that would be used in low Earth orbit and, in the future, throughout the solar system to provide communications for missions to other planets.
Another major startup, Unmanned Defense Systems, founded by experts in unmanned aircraft systems and satellite technology, provides modern military-grade drones that send false messages to the enemy to make them betray their positions, protect aircraft, and more. – this solution is also already used in Ukraine. Other noteworthy startups include Active Photonics, Astrolight, Blackswan Space, Krampus by OstraLab, MappingSoil and Skycorp.
Lithuanian venture capital funds: promotion of innovation
Lithuanian venture capital funds have accumulated a significant sum of 55 million US dollars for investments in dual-use facilities.
Andrius Milinavičius, managing partner of Baltic Sandbox Ventures, emphasized the importance of such funding: “We focus on DeepTech because we understand how difficult the journey of innovation commercialization is – starting fundamental research and development and finding applied use cases are two equally important tasks. As we work with startups looking to establish themselves in the dual-use technology sector, we need to support them by taking an active role in helping these innovations reach end users.”
The Deputy Minister of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, Erika Kuročkina, said: “Various opportunities are opening up in various sectors such as aerospace, artificial intelligence and photonics. Our defense industry is open and collaborative, focusing on the most advanced technologies. We want this technological progress to drive economic growth. , even while strengthening security and providing aid to Ukraine.”
The Deputy Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania, Greta Tučkutė, drew attention to the lessons to be learned from Ukraine, where defense innovations are currently being tested: “It is very important to have high-quality and timely products when they are needed. Understanding what product the government expects and what product the armed forces can use is important for collaboration. The NATO summit is a very important moment for our country and an opportunity to create models that will stimulate investment in defense and production, while facilitating cooperation among members in the field of innovation.”
With the solid infrastructure that Lithuania has built in less than two years, it is ready to direct this capital to promising start-ups, develop advanced technologies and strengthen the country’s defense capabilities.