Defpost.com: ECA Group to Deploy its Unmanned Naval Systems for OCEAN2020 Demonstration
Published on defpost.com, February 2018
The unmanned systems will be used to conduct demonstration of maritime interdiction operations against suspicious vessels involved in illegal weapons trafficking and smuggling activities.
ECA Group is one of the participants in the OCEAN2020 consortium, winner of a major project contract as part of the European Commission’s 2017 Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) initiative conducted by the European Defence Agency (EDA).
This 35 million euros project in funding, aims to develop a technology demonstrator that will validate the concept of deploying a complete array of drone systems (air, surface and submarine) for surveillance in a maritime environment.
The 42 countries partnership OCEAN2020 project is related to the first European Defence Fund’s initiative to boost Europe’s defence capabilities, issued by the European Union under the PADR programme.
OCEAN2020 is the first example of a cross-European military research programme to-date. The contract requires a thorough analysis of operational requirements and a technologically-innovative yet operationally-realistic proposal. The research project will also involve the integration of unmanned platforms in surveillance and interdiction missions.
OCEAN2020 will deploy unmanned platforms of different type (UAVs, surface and underwater robotics) integrated within naval units’ command and control centres, allowing for data exchange via satellite, with command and control centres on land. The joint and cooperative use of both manned and unmanned vehicles will also be demonstrated as part of the project.
In addition to complex simulation work, OCEAN2020 project will involve two live demonstrations, one in the Mediterranean sea and another in the Baltic Sea.
ECA Group’s Role in OCEAN2020 Project
ECA Group will be a prominent actor during the first demo, coordinated by the Italian Navy, scheduled to take place in the Mediterranean Sea in 2019. With the planned support of the French Navy, along with unmanned platforms from partners SAFRAN (France), IDE (Greece), and CMRE (NATO), ECA Group will deploy its Inspector MKII USV and one of its A9, A18, A27 AUVs to conduct maritime interdiction operations against suspicious vessels involved in illegal weapons trafficking and smuggling activities.
Part of the missions deals with the localisation and the identification of sunken illegal goods/weapons on the seabed. This is achieved efficiently through the collaborative teamwork of the USVs/AUVs whose mission can be configured, planned for, executed and supervised using ECA Group Mission Management Platform UMIS. Recovery of the sunken, localised/identified, crates could then be performed, whenever decided, by a remotely operated ROVs.