Navy ships from five NATO countries have completed the first at-sea trials of the EU-funded Ocean2020.
Taking place in in the Gulf of Taranto, Italy, on November 21 and 22, the trial involved six ships and nine unmanned systems tested technologies that will reinforce the surveillance of blue waters, the furthest from the coast and the most difficult to control due to their vast size.
The deployment of manned and unmanned systems, when integrated with satellite and communication networks, aims to enhance overall maritime situational awareness and build a comprehensive picture of developing situations for military decision-makers.
Led by Italian company Leonardo, the OCEAN2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess) maritime initiative brings together technical specialists in the maritime domain covering the observing, orienting, deciding and acting operational tasks.
Systems tested during the trial include ECA Group’s Inspector MKII unmanned surface vehicle and one of its A-serie autonomous underwater vehicles (A9, A18, A27). Leonardo supplied ‘Hero’ and ‘Solo’ unmanned helicopters while UMS Skeldar pitched its V-200 UAV.
Spain’s Indra has led the development of the first prototype of the European Maritime Operations Center located at the European Defense Agency (EDA) facilities in Brussels. The new command and control capacity acted as a node for the entire deployment, integrating the MARSUR maritime surveillance network very significantly in its operation. Each vessel maintained contact, either by satellite or through advanced secure communications links, with its national command center, which in turn connected to the new command center in Brussels.
A second live sea demonstration will take place in Summer 2020 in the Baltic Sea and will be led by the Swedish Navy.