Summary: PADR are practical feasibility studies, intended to lead on to further development. At stake: Engagement in scoping encourages engagement in the main projects at EU level.
What they say: “to prepare and test mechanisms that can identify, organise and deliver a variety of Union funded cooperative defence research and technology development (R&T) activities to stimulate cooperation amongst R&T actors in all Member States” – objective.
Exposure: Whitehall encouraged UK companies to bid for funds despite the Brexit vote, notwithstanding (because of?) the likelihood that this would generate industry lobbying to sign up to the post-2020 package, regardless of the national strategic interest. Ongoing UK engagement remains unclear.
Action: Whatever new format emerges within the EDA, the UK will need to monitor these plans at an early stage if only to ensure that onward development in which it has an interest takes place outside of the EDA structures. Norway’s form of engagement is a little too close for long term comfort.