Accelerator for the Future Combat Air System Successfully Completed: Start-ups Selected

The culmination of thirteen weeks of intensive collaboration was celebrated as HENSOLDT Ventures and Starburst concluded the successful execution of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Accelerator.


In August 2023, start-ups and mentors were invited to participate in this innovative program aimed at fostering an ecosystem for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop dual-use and defence applications for FCAS. The results of the FCAS Accelerator were unveiled at a closing event held in Taufkirchen, graced by the presence of Member of the Bundestag Florian Hahn, HENSOLDT CEO Thomas Müller, and HENSOLDT Chief Strategy Officer Celia Pelaz.


Celia Pelaz, Chief Strategy Officer at HENSOLDT, emphasized the importance of embracing new ideas and fostering innovation for the future-oriented FCAS project. “With the accelerator, we set ourselves the goal of identifying and selecting first-class innovators,” stated Pelaz. “We have succeeded in doing just that.”


Nearly 70 companies responded to the call for applications, from which nine were selected for a boot camp by HENSOLDT and the CPT, featuring twelve mentors. The boot camp focused on discovering and developing solution concepts for FCAS, with an emphasis on long-term integration into the FCAS program. The participants engaged in exchanges with military leaders and were briefed on initiatives such as the NATO Innovation Fund, the European Defence Fund (EDF), and the EU Defence Innovation Scheme (EUDIS).


Moritz Pichler, Executive responsible for HENSOLDT Ventures, elaborated on the areas of focus for the selected start-ups. “The three start-ups we will be working with for FCAS are focusing on artificial intelligence, disruptive sensors, and electronic materials and components, respectively,” Pichler explained. “This involves a new type of chip-based parallel computing cloud platform, the development and production of cooled high-end infrared detectors, and new types of metal bonding processes with higher conductivity and efficiency.”


Member of the German Bundestag Florian Hahn commended the contributions of start-ups to high-tech projects like FCAS. “What we are seeing today at the FCAS Accelerator closing event is that start-ups can make a decisive contribution to high-tech projects,” remarked Hahn. “They all represent what we need in Germany and Europe: Courageous people who are pioneers and develop technology that will determine our security in the future.”


Plans for a further accelerator program are already in motion, with a potential launch date slated for autumn 2024.



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