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Eleven Companies and AAU Will Save Lives in the Arctic

Eleven Companies and AAU Will Save Lives in the Arctic

The international defense and security trade exhibition in Paris is the launch pad for an unprecedented polar partnership

Last modified: 01.06.2018

All necessary equipment must immediately be positioned for effective action, even in temperatures of minus 51 and in impossible conditions.

That’s the basic idea for a North Denmark collaborative effort by several small, medium-sized and a few larger companies, with Aalborg University as the coordinator and project manager. The partnership, known as Defend Arctic, presents itself to the public and particularly to the defense and security industry at the international trade exhibition Eurosatory in Paris, June 11-15.

This is about quick and effective action in the event of accidents and disasters in the Arctic. The businesses each contribute their competencies, and Aalborg University’s Department of Materials and Production serves as the umbrella with Bruno Winther as Head of Innovation. The companies' widely differing products are combined in containers and become a mobile search and rescue system that can be stationed at strategic locations, thus making a crucial difference. For example in East Greenland, where it may take a half a day or more before help can arrive.

- It’s necessary to have an inspection ship with a helicopter in order to be effective, especially in East Greenland. That’s not realistic. But Defend Arctic container systems are, including computer-controlled technology, and energy systems with solar panels and wind turbines, explains Bruno Winther.

Minus 51 degrees

- We assemble the blocks ith the right components in the right way and ensure that they can also be used at minus 51 degrees, as is required by the military and NATO. At Aalborg University, we can test the equipment down to minus 55 degrees so we've been able to put together systems with the right elements from the North Denmark companies, says Bruno Winther.

The companies take part with everything from drones and defense against unauthorized drones to low flying mini-satellites to radar and communications gear to truck transport and, of course, first-rate insulated containers for both personnel and equipment. A mobile command post will serve as the heart of the entire Defend Arctic solution.

- With three stations, we can cover 2700 km on the east coast of Greenland. The system is ready for immediate action, for example if a cruise ship with 3-4000 people on board is in distress in the Arctic Ocean. Or for both missing person searches and emergency relief like when the village of Nuugaatsiaq was hit by a tidal wave last year, explains Bruno Winther, Head of Innovation, Aalborg University.

In addition to civilian search and rescue operations, Defend Arctic can also play a role in sovereignty enforcement. The containers make it possible to establish a mobile Arctic base for screening of foreign activities with a surveillance range of 200 km. For military use, armored protection can also be established as needed.

Experts in anoraks

When the Defend Arctic companies present the unique concept at the exhibition in Paris, it will be the 31 experts from the respective companies – all in the same white anoraks.

- This is the first time that so many companies have joined forces in an informal innovation partnership where specific consortia are formed according to the task. We’re attending the international exhibition in Paris bringing three fully loaded truck trailers containing innovative arctic technology demonstrators and will test whether we’ve hit the market right. We think so. We present a challenge to many who do not think in terms of systemic solutions. The modular platform offers unique options that enable customers to select only the elements needed, says Bruno Winther.

- We will of course set our sights on those who can benefit from the Defend Arctic concept. Arctic Command, among others. We’re then ready to respond with everything we’re presenting in 156 square meters in Paris. If the Government of Greenland wants to see us, then we’ll come, promises Bruno Winther.

The eleven Danish partner enterprises that comprise Defend Arctic are:

  • Alpcon, with expertise in thermoelectric generator modules for heating for both personnel and vehicles. 
  • Ballard, with fuel cells that ensure a power supply also under extreme conditions.
  • DC Supply, provides the mobile container solutions.
  • Hydrema, delivers the trucks that can transport all the elements around in the Arctic areas with extremely low ground pressure so the vehicles can also operate on the ice.
  • MyDefence, specializes in technologically advanced anti-drone solutions and can jam unauthorized and distracting drones in the area.
  • Sky-Watch, has developed and manufactured advanced drones since 2009 and joins with a system capable of staying airborne and with the option of accessories like chemical detectors, infrared, thermal or HD cameras.
  • Necas, produces electronics for highly demanding environments, including the industrial, maritime and offshore market segments, as well as aerospace and defense.
  • Scanfiber Composites, has many years of experience in ballistic protection and produces lightweight armor plating based on fiber composites.
  • Space Inventor, develops and builds satellite systems that can intercept and monitor radio signals from, for example, ships, aircraft and radars.
  • Techpartners, provides advice and consultancy and has experience in areas such as water treatment in conditions from desert heat to Arctic cold.
  • Polog, the only the company not located in North Denmark, possesses special expertise. Polog is a Danish-Greenlandic company that provides logistics to projects in remote areas often without existing infrastructure, including the Arctic.
  • Aalborg University’s Department of Materials and Production completes the dozen as the project owner, manager and administrator of Defend Arctic. The department has experience with major research projects and expertise in law and procurement. The university is neutral in relation to the companies and is able to draw on a number of researchers.


Bruno Winther, AAU, +45 2348 3443 or win@mp.aau.dk