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Based on this patent application, ECA Group widens its magnetic solutions portfolio with an aerial portable magnetic ranging system called Sterna® and consisting in a magnetometer and its digitizer embedded in UAV IT180 airborne drone (developed by ECA Group). To perform the mapping in a horizontal plane of the vessel, Sterna® overflies the vessel. Data are transmitted onboard, detection risk is automatically estimated and degaussing parameters are computed.

This solution is an innovative patented system rewarded with the innovation award by the French Minister of Defence in 2016.


STERNATM: Faster and more accurate results

The use of a moving disturbing carrier is made feasible thanks to an innovative system performing algorithm to compensate the carrier disturbances and model the vessel.

Using the IT180 UAV, the measurement of vessel’s magnetic signature was completed in less than one hour in operational conditions, while traditional methods require an immobilisation of the vessel during several days.



The STERNA™ system benefits from the design and outstanding performances of IT180 UAV. This combat proven versatile mini drone is easy to use, even in harsh weather conditions or in hostile environments.

With an autonomy of up to 2hours giving, ECA Group’s IT180 aerial drone will:

  • Carry payloads up to 5kg (EO/IR, LIDAR…)
  • Detect floating drifting mines in front of an expeditionary naval force in transit,
  • Relay data as trans-horizon radio relay with the other aerial drones and the naval surface drones (USV) implemented by the same ship.


integrating naval drone system UMIs

Beyond aerial applications, ECA Group has already delivered its UMIS naval systems based on its surface robots (USVs INSPECTOR), submersibles (AUVs such as A9 or A18 and MIDS ROVs such as SEASCAN or K-STER) to several MODs or civil operators in 2016. UMIS integrates a complete multi-drones mission control and command (C2) system, as well as a performant data processing suite. The magnetic risk management solution STERNA™ can be included in a drone system as an additional option.

Mine and MAD risk calculation

  • Surface vessels and submarines magnetic signature measurement
  • Automatic detection risk estimation
  • Automatic degaussing system adjustment


STERNATM can be used for different type of magnetic measurements performing several runs along the longitudinal axis:

  • At least one run to measure submarine in MAD type measurement (Magnetic Anomaly Detection): height of flight chosen far enough to be in the simple dipolar area of the submarine but close enough to have signal

Direct computation of MAD risk

  • At least three runs to check vessel’s magnetic signature (with or without degaussing system): height of flight chosen far enough to avoid vessel’s superstructure and local magnetic effects but close enough to have signal

Evaluation of MAD risk, escape scenario and mine risk, checking of the magnetic signature and of the degaussing system efficiency on operation theatre



  • Determines magnetic risks on the operational theater
  • Only one hour of total operation: deployment and measurement
  • Operated from the vessel: neither onshore station nor cable links
  • Usable in shallow water as well as open sea
  • Fully containerized, light and stand-alone solution
  • Cost effective solution

patented solution

  • Sterna is a unique solution composed of a magnetometer and its digitizer embedded in UAV IT180 airborne (develop by ECA-GROUP). The magnetic measurement is performed through a high performance algorithm to compensate the sensor’s errors and the drone magnetic influence.


  • Magnetic signature reduction

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