Finland's VTT to embark on classified research in communications

Business Finland awarded grant money to bring classified security research to VTT over the next two years, building on Finland's strengths developing secure data transfer systems.
Finland's VTT to embark on classified research in communications

VTT will launch its own research facility for classified communications research aimed at securing mission-critical networks like defence forces, protecting them from malignant cyber forces.

Cyber warfare is a major headache for defence forces. Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the EU Commission has published new proposals in a frantic bid to prevent Russian cyber incursions on EU nations.

The new Finnish programme is funded by a €1 million research grant from the national funding agency, Business Finland.

Under the initiative, VTT will undertake renovations of its existing research facility through until 2025 so it can carry out classified development securely.

The construction project is due to start in 2023, and some of the facilities will be ready next year.

A key focal point will be what's known as data links, a classified technology that lets fighters, drones and surveillance aircrafts share situational awareness with one another.

Classified activities will also be enabled by other VTT systems, including its 5G test network, satellite communications, cybersecurity testing sandboxes and future tech like quantum communication and 6G.

The development follows September's announcement of a new Digital Defence ecosystem led by Business Finland. 

This ecosystem aims to leverage Finnish expertise as part of EU and NATO-wide cyber defence initiatives, bringing together "technological front runners" from the defence, security and civil industry spheres.

VTT is among the founders of the Digital Defence network alongside handful of other leading Finnish universities, hardware makers, engineers and robotics startups.

Finland is regarded as having specialised talent pools for building data transfer systems, and these could provide a firm foundation for classified research purposes.

But despite its global reputation, the country lacks research centres that offer classified-level secure communications, according to Sauli Eloranta, vice president of VTT's safe and connected society research.

"The new research environment will serve the needs of both Finnish and European companies as widely as possible, and it will also facilitate the research and product development of innovative SMEs operating outside the defence sector.

"By utilising the new research infrastructure, companies can avoid expensive investments in special equipment required for research and testing.’ 

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