Innovation has a key role in increasing defence capability and modernizing the Hungarian Defence Forces, said Brigadier General Imre Porkoláb, CEO, Defense Innovation Research Institute (VIKI) Nonprofit Ltd. at a capability demonstration organized by the VIKI in Budapest on 31 May.
In his speech delivered at the event held in the Bálna, Imre Porkoláb noted that in 2016, the government had made a decision to launch the armed forces development and modernization program, thanks to which several modern items of equipment have already arrived in Hungary and are being complemented with large-scale defence industry development projects. He added that having been established two months ago as an affiliated institution of the Ministry of Defence, the VIKI considers as its most important tasks the support of defence innovation projects and the development of dual-use (civilian and military) products. He said that it also has an effect that consists in the stimulation of the economy, but the most important goal is to provide the soldiers with these products in order to enhance their combat and survival capabilities. The CEO of VIKI pointed out that in the field of defence innovation, they count on the universities, business organizations and research institutes. He emphasized that the mission of the research institute directed by him is to provide decision-makers with as many development opportunities as possible and to help the creation of consortiums as well as to support them, for example, in writing applications, so that they can obtain Hungarian and international development resources.
He said that innovations related to the “digital soldier” program take priority during the ongoing development projects at the VIKI, as they do not only involve the development of the soldiers’ weaponry and equipment but also that of their cognitive skills. The second prioritized field is vehicle digitization, in which the focus will be on autonomous self-driving systems, and the third is the so-called “disruptive technologies”. The brigadier-general noted that the research institute would like to achieve the establishment of more and more test centres (automotive proving grounds) like ZalaZone in Hungary in the future, and to declare them to NATO, which may offer an international market for the companies participating in the development.
Besides, the establishment of a national defence laboratory is also planned. It would draw on the already operating national laboratories, because the technologies they are already working on are such that their further development can make them suitable for dual (military and civilian) use. In the Bálna, the research institute presented the most promising developments in the field of defence innovation to the representatives of universities and business organizations.