In February 2023, the Defence Innovation Research Institute Nonprofit Ltd (DIRI) was established. According to its concept, the DIRI is dedicated to mapping dual-use technologies, i.e. those that can be used for civilian and military purposes alike, and to supporting their defence-related utilization. Further tasks of the new organization include interministerial cooperation, international embeddedness and the specification of long-term development goals. The Minister of Defence exercises the ownership rights of the new company.
The program director is Brigadier General Dr. Imre Porkoláb, MoD Ministerial Commissioner for Defence Innovation, who told us that the new organization supports the capability development projects of the Hungarian Defence Forces, thereby creating much more combat-worthy armed forces. Furthermore, beyond the developments, it may have a significant role in stimulating the economy in Hungary.
The Defence Innovation Research Institute (DIRI) was originally conceived on the basis of international examples because there is a need for connecting the already existing domestic and international innovation ecosystems (universities, research institutes, laboratories, small and medium-sized enterprises) as well as the Ministry of Defence in the interest of achieving the most effective implementation of dual-purpose research programs that may be utilized for defence purposes as well, added the ministerial commissioner.
The objective is to make the new technologies produced by the DIRI enter service with the Hungarian Defence Forces in the interest of promoting their commercialization. According to the ministerial commissioner, the new domestically developed and manufactured high-tech digital equipment will have an impact on warfighting as well, and support the creation of modern and combat-worthy armed forces. The government of Hungary intends to establish a 21st-century, high-tech force, because in the age of dangers, the armed forces can represent a deterrent force and at the same time execute their tasks in international alliances only if their equipment and morale meet the challenges of our age.
Imre Porkoláb added that the developments are focused on the Digital Soldier Program, which serves not only the development of the individual tactical gears and weaponry but also the soldiers’ cognitive skills. Moreover, in the framework of the Vehicle Digitalization Program, domestic researchers and companies are also involved in upgrading the already available vehicles and also those to be procured during the modernization process.
It is an outstanding objective that the DIRI be also integrated into NATO’s current Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), facilitate the widest possible use of the opportunities provided by the European Defence Fund (EDF) in terms of EU resources, and at the same time help the domestic enterprises in utilizing the resources, added the ministerial commissioner.
Press release of the Ministry of Defence