November 24, 2022

Belgian Minister of Defence underscores support for Belgian Defence and Security Companies during Erpe-Mere Visit

Security and Defence

On Tuesday, ST Engineering iDirect (Europe) CY NV, the EU Satcom Center of Excellence, was delighted to host the Belgian Minister of Defence, Ms. Ludivine Dedonder at the Manufacturing Competence Center (MCC) in Erpe-Mere.

Dedonder meets Stéphanie Tack
Stéphanie Tack (Managing Director, ST Engineering iDirect Belgium) and Ludovine Dedonder (Belgian Minister of Defence)

From the moment Minister Dedonder took her oath in October 2020, she has prioritized the recapitalization of the workforce with initiatives to modernize infrastructure, redress wages, and ultimately improve the retention of service members.

Citing ST Engineering iDirect as an example, her visit was a demonstration of her commitment to cultivating the support of Belgian companies in the security and defence industry. “In our country, we have world-class research centers and defence and security companies, in the most diverse fields,” said Minister Dedonder. “ST Engineering iDirect’s Manufacturing Competence Center in Erpe-Mere is a prime example of this. The company develops components for highly advanced satellite communication systems and manufactures high-end electronic circuit boards and assemblies for space, defence and aero applications.”

EPW LogoMinister Dedonder highlighted the MCC’s prestigious certification from the European Space Agency (ESA) authorizing it to work on British pieces of defence and space technology. She said: “We must encourage Belgian companies such as this one and support them as much as possible in their research and development as well as their production. With the DIRS – Defence, Industry and Research Strategy, through which we are releasing 1.8 billion euros by 2030 to support R&D in the field of defense and security in our country, the intention is that the Ministry of Defence further deepen its cooperation with these companies in order to collaborate more in the interest of employment, our production capacities – at Belgian and European level – and our strategic autonomy.”

With over 35 years of technological innovation, ST Engineering iDirect specializes in the development of ground segment technology and equipment for the European Union. During Minister Dedonder’s visit, discussions included ST Engineering iDirect Europe’s contributions to the following programs:

Defence, Industry and Research Strategy (DIRS)

The goal of this initiative is to develop and consolidate a Belgian Defence Technological and Industrial Base to support the national security and defence policy and strengthen the EU’s open strategic autonomy, positioning Belgium as a relevant, reliable and competitive technological partner in European and trans-Atlantic capability development

European Defence Fund’s European Protected Waveform (EPW)

This program aims to secure satellite communications for the benefit of the States of the European Union. It sets up resilient satellite communication services for governmental and institutional security users to achieve increased EU autonomy in space. ST Engineering iDirect Europe is leading a consortium in support of the Belgian Ministry of Defence with 19 companies out of 11 EU nations to build a secure EU waveform alongside adjacent technologies to provide end-to-end information assurance over satellite for military applications.

Satcom and Space Programs for Belgian Defence

Alongside the ambitions formulated through the Belgian Defence STAR plan which stands for ‘Security, Technology, Ambition, Resilience’ and defines the strategy vision for Belgian Forces between today and 2030, ST Engineering iDirect Europe presents its capabilities in terms of secure satcom connectivity to integrate their technology in the different upcoming Belgian MoD’s naval, airborne, land and cyber programs.

“As a high-tech company based in Belgium, we are determined to make an even more impactful contribution to the future development of the space and satellite industry in the EU”, said Stéphanie Tack, Managing Director of ST Engineering iDirect Belgium. “We do this, on the one hand, thanks to our expertise in production according to ESA and NASA aerospace standards (in the Manufacturing Competence Center in Erpe-Mere) but also thanks to research and development (at the head office /laboratory in Sint-Niklaas.) This is how ST Engineering iDirect leads the consortium of the European Protected Waveform (EPW) project, which aims to secure satellite communications for the benefit of the States of the European Union. We feel particularly supported in this by Minister Dedonder’s “Defence, Industry and Research Strategy” (DIRS) and we are grateful for the more intensive cooperation between Defense and the business world for the benefit of the Belgian space industry.”

We would like to thank Minister Dedonder for her visit to our facility and we look forward to our continued leadership of the EPW Project and further collaboration with the defence industry.
Dedonder meets Stéphanie TackMCC Visit Security and Defence
The Minister and delegation tour the state-of-the-art Erpe-Mere production facility in Belgium, led by Plant Manager, Tom Hamelinckx.

To see further cabinet reaction to the Minister’s visit on social media, please see the following posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.