Leonardo stands ready for first OCEAN2020 demonstration, as Europe’s most important research project for maritime surveillance ramps up

Rome  19 November 2019 16:21

  • An operation in the Mediterranean Sea, the first of OCEAN2020’s two defence-focused demonstrations, will be led by Leonardo and the Italian Navy
  • The aim of the exercise will be to evaluate how remotely-piloted aircraft can help respond to the challenges of maritime surveillance, as well as assessing European and NATO-level interoperability
  • The Leonardo-led OCEAN2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess) team comprises 42 partners from 15 European nations

Leonardo stands ready to embark on the first OCEAN2020 demonstration, bringing together six naval units, nine remotely-piloted systems, five satellites, two ground communications networks, four national co-ordination centres (Maritime Operation Centres - MOCs) and a prototype command centre (EU MOC) located in Brussels. The demonstration is the first live exercise being carried out as part of the European Defence Fund’s pan-European military research project known as OCEAN2020, ‘Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess’. Leonardo is leading the project, which aims to evaluate how remotely-piloted aircraft can help respond to the challenges of maritime surveillance.

The demonstration will take place in the Gulf of Taranto on 20th and 21st of November and will be coordinated at sea by the Italian Navy. As a key partner of OCEAN2020, the Navy has provided ships and helicopters for the project and has helped develop the operational scenarios for the demonstrations. These will include the interdiction of a hostile vessel and the interception of an enemy mine-laying ship during an amphibious operation. Throughout the exercise, the overarching objective will be to demonstrate how remotely-piloted air systems (RPAS) can support surveillance and interdiction operations at-sea, providing an integrated picture of the situation for operators. The demonstration will also provide an opportunity to assess integration and interoperability capabilities at a European level as well as in the context of joint operations with NATO.

Leonardo is providing a number of capabilities for the exercise. The Company is responsible for the surveillance, defence and communication systems on board the Italian Navy’s Virginio Fasan and Federico Martinengo frigates, the latter which also hosts a SH-90A helicopter produced by Leonardo. The Company has also provided maritime domain awareness solutions at the Italian Navy Operations Center (COMM), headquarter of the Naval Squad Command (CINCNAV) - in particular, both on board naval units and at the ground control new tactical tables with dedicated functionalities are installed to control the remote piloted systems – and will fly its SW-4 SOLO and AW HERO remotely piloted helicopters during the demo; advanced electronic scanning radar sensors on uncrewed aircraft; telecommunications services of Athena Fidus developed by Telespazio and earth observation services provided through E-Geos SEonSE platform using the capabilities of Cosmo-SkyMed satellites. Leonardo has also participated in the creation of the prototype European maritime operations centre in Brussels, which will host operations during the exercise.

OCEAN2020 is funded by the European Union (EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research) through grant n. 801697 and implemented by the European Defence Agency (EDA). It is the first and most important project under the European Defence Fund’s initiative to boost pan-European defence. Leonardo leads a team of 42 partners from 15 European countries, comprising industry, research organisations and Ministries of Defence, from Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Lithuania. OCEAN2020’s second demonstration will take place in 2020 in the Baltic Sea.