"For FCAS we need to think outside the box," says Bruno Fichefeux, Head of FCAS Programme at Defence and Space. "Our partnership with Starburst Accelerator reflects this ambition."
Starburst is a global incubator entirely dedicated to fast-tracking promising startups in the aerospace sector. It is also a key facilitator for the wider French defence eco-system, in particular for the French Defence Innovation Agency and its Innovation Defence Lab.
Belonging to the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), these organisations identify civilian innovations of interest for military use and accelerate their integration into existing military equipment, systems or future programmes.
Nurturing emerging technologies
"Our aim is to partner with other forward-thinking minds and companies to imagine and create new possibilities that build on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, resilient connectivity and cybersecurity," says Bruno. "We are confident this will unlock worthwhile change over the long term."
FCAS' goal is to drive a joint collaborative industrial setup that combines competences and prevents technology dependencies outside of the European Union. This includes developing relationships across the defence startup ecosystem, starting now with France.
Furthermore, Defence and Space has identified numerous innovation topics beyond FCAS – especially within CIS - to ensure that Airbus profits widely from the partnership.
"We need to mobilise the best of European innovation and technology. One national industrial base alone will not be enough to achieve the technology breakthroughs needed," explains Jan Stoeber, Head of FCAS Industrial setup and Partnering at Defence and Space.
More about Starburst
Founded in 2012, Starburst follows an open innovation approach. Selection committees comprised of partnering companies, such as Airbus, and potential investors evaluate new technological solutions and ideas presented by the brightest startups from around the world - from Paris and Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro and Singapore. The startups deemed the most promising benefit from mentoring and access to leading players in the aerospace industry, and funding to help develop ideas from lab to industrial application. To date, more than a hundred startups have benefited from its incubation programme.