Introduction The European Union is faced with increasing geopolitical instability and a complex set of conventional and new threats while the defence sector is fragmented and lacks investments in important research and capability development projects. Therefore, the Union is taking steps to bear more responsibility for its security and defence, including in its neighbourhood, to contribute to its strategic autonomy and freedom of action and to assist in creating a more competitive and integrated European defence technological and industrial base, thus reducing its dependencies. Following the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), the European Defence Fund (EDF) has been created to foster the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of the defence technological and industrial base throughout the Union. It should complement, leverage and consolidate collaborative efforts and cross-border cooperation between legal entities in developing defence capabilities that respond to security challenges while strengthening and improving the agility of both defence supply and value chains. The defence capability needs and shortfalls remain significant throughout the Union, in particular regarding next generations of large-scale capabilities, but also in critical cross-cutting and enabling areas such as space and cyber. This includes making best use of existing EU/European space systems by contributing to the development of their military application. The EDF should also foster better exploitation of the industrial potential of innovation, research and technological development at each stage of the industrial life cycle of defence products and technologies, including through cross-fertilisation with civilian innovations in various domains such as digital, artificial intelligence and cyber. The EDF is implemented through annual work programmes from 2021 to 2027. Priorities identified in the annual work programme are in line with the Union capability priorities commonly agreed by Member States, in particular through the Capability Development Plan (CDP). Due consideration has been given to legacy PADR and EDIDP work programmes, to existing proposals from the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework and to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) capability shortfalls. This work program sets out in detail the research topics and the categories of actions to be financially supported by the Fund in the year 2022 (see table below): • The work programme identifies 15 thematic categories of actions, among which research topics are identified, where appropriate. • The contribution of each category of actions to the three fields defined in the EDF Regulation is also indicated. EDF thematic categories of actions 1.Defence medical support, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN), biotech and human factors 2. Information superiority 3. Advanced passive and active sensors 4. Cyber 5. Space 6. Digital transformation Fields covered (a) (b) (c) X X X X X X X X 7. Materials and components 8. Energy resilience and environmental transition 9. Air combat 10. Air and missile defence 11. Ground combat 12. Force protection and mobility 13. Naval combat 14. Underwater warfare 15. Simulation and training X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X In addition to these 15 thematic categories of actions, there are: • A category of actions addressing disruptive technologies on specific topics, • A category of actions focused on open calls, including a focus on SMEs, in order to foster innovation as a key objective of the EDF. EDF non thematic categories of actions 16. Disruptive technologies 17. Open calls for innovative and future-oriented defence solutions Each category of actions may lead to one or more calls for proposals, each of them addressing one or more topics. The list of calls for proposals and associated topics addressed in this annual work programme is defined in section 3. Topics target actions that in accordance with Article 10(3) relate to one or more activities listed in the table below. The table includes which activities can be covered by research actions and by development actions respectively. A topic can focus on one or more activities, but can allow additional activities that would lead to (“upstream activities”) or result from (“downstream activities”) these activities. Activities Activities aiming to create, underpin and imp

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