Many defence developments have emerged throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine that change the balance of power on the battlefield, helping the Ukrainian army effectively destroy the enemy and save lives.
But Ukraine's defence technology cluster, or defence-tech, has much greater potential, the ministry of digital transformation says, adding that Ukraine's victory depends on its development.
On 26 April, the ministry announced the launch of the BRAVE1 defence-tech cluster. LIGA.net found out what is the purpose of the platform and how developers can join it.
The Defence Technology Cluster is a joint initiative of the ministries of digital transformation, defence, economy and strategic industries, as well as the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Security and Defence Council.
It is a single platform for cooperation between defence-tech companies, the government, the military, investors, volunteer foundations, the media, and everyone who helps bring Ukraine’s victory closer through technology.
The main goal of BRAVE1, according to the digital transformation ministry, is to create a ‘fast track’, that is a quick algorithm for defence and security innovations solutions. Every company or defence-tech startup can apply to the cluster and get all the answers and help.
"This includes access to military expertise, accelerators and incubators, systematic support from mentors who will help improve development, scale business and create value for investors, development grants and additional funding opportunities," the ministry said.
Developers will also have access to a research centre that will help with the necessary components, equipment, and testing.
Before BRAVE1, its founders studied the experience of different countries that have lived through war, analysing their governments’ work, the decisions they made, and the weapons they developed.
"We realised that military developments require large-scale funding and open communication with the General Staff and the ministry of defence, and that scientists should be easily integrated into the real economy," the ministry of digital transformation says.
Work on BRAVE1, expected to bring together all defence-tech efforts, began even before Russia’s full-scale invasion started, with the bulk of the work carried out over the past six months.
The BRAVE1 cluster will focus on five priority areas.
One of the main goals of the platform is to provide funding for military developments that will be prioritised by Ukraine’s security and defence forces and be useful on the battlefield. Such companies will be able to receive grants for development and scaling up.
The cluster will also bring together researchers and developers to work with the Ukrainian military to find effective technological defence solutions. To that end, a research centre will operate within BRAVE1, which will also help with patents and intellectual property protection.
BRAVE1 is called the first platform that brings together all industry stakeholders. The military, scientists, developers, volunteers and the government will be able to work together on defence developments, organise educational events, meetups, and networking.
The cluster will help all technology companies be in constant touch with Ukraine’s security and defence forces. Developers will be able to demonstrate their products, receiving prompt feedback and military expertise.
In addition, every defence project taking part in BRAVE1 will receive comprehensive support, including expert support for developments, presentations at relevant international events, and seeking additional sources of funding.
On the basis of BRAVE1, the defence innovation council was created – a community of influential professionals that will include prominent representatives of flagship international companies and institutions.
They will become ambassadors of the project in different countries and will be engaged in fundraising for Ukrainian developments, as well as help with exchange and expertise.
The defence innovation council will be headed by Mark Lennon, an Apple executive and military veteran, who has held senior positions at Gartner and the US government, served as an officer in the US Navy, and took part in combat operations in Iraq.
Both finished products and projects under development can join BRAVE1, Ukraine’s ministry of digital transformation explains.
BRAVE1 will develop such areas as systems and means of destruction; defence and security; supply and logistics; unmanned aerial vehicles; robots; demining; cybersecurity; intelligence; navigation and medical support. However, other projects related to defence-tech are also eligible to apply in the ‘Other’ category.
To apply, a developer must do the following: