Indra has successfully tested the first prototype of the European Maritime Operations Center on Nov. 20 and 21 within a naval exercise.
The new Command and Control capacity, located at the European Defense Agency (EDA) facilities in Brussels, Belgium, is developed by Indra in collaboration with Leonardo. The naval exercise saw the participation of the Navies of Italy, France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, within the framework of the EU-funded OCEAN2020 R&D program.
Five ships, aircraft and nine drones —aerial, boats and submarines— operated for two days in the waters of the Gulf of Taranto. Their mission: to test the next generation of 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.
These tests reproduced the asymmetric attack of a speedboat equipped with anti-ship armament. A mine-laying vessel was also pursued and captured offshore, including the subsequent detection and neutralization of mines on the seabed.
The new Maritime Operations Center, operating with Indra’s iMARE system, 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.
The different navies saw their situational awareness increased in this way, expanding the surveillance zone that they could cover thanks to the coordination of the available assets.
This new center demonstrated its ability to process the data received and return a much more accurate single common image of the situation at sea. It also offered tools to support decision making and enabled real-time interaction with deployed ships.
Indra’s European Maritime Center has been designed as the basis on which to develop a Military Command and Planning Capability in the future. It will provide the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) with a demonstrator of data integration and operational facilities enabling the commanders’ situational awareness.
In addition to testing the new center, Indra’s Pelicano unmanned helicopter operated in an integrated manner with the vessel’s systems deployed by the Navy for the exercise. The powerful cameras of Indra’s UAV enable the monitoring of targets many kilometers away.
After passing these first sea tests, the OCEAN2020 program now faces the next and final demonstration that will take place next year in the Baltic Sea.
Indra is one of the companies with most influence in this project, in which 42 companies and organizations from 15 countries coordinated by Leonardo participate. It will last three years and has a budget of 35 million euros.
This is one of the most important projects (grant agreement No 801697) launched within the EU Preparatory Action, a program that has served as a testing ground and prelude to the European Defense Fund that will be activated in 2021 and will allocate 3.5 billion euros to defense research in seven years.