French defence major, Safran will deploy a maritime surveillance version of its Patroller drone for the OCEAN2020 project demonstrations.
The only fixed-wing, long-endurance drone taking part in these demonstrations, the Patroller will also be outfitted with a new mission system, including a maritime surveillance radar, an automatic identification system (AIS) for ships and Safran’s EuroflirTM 410 optronic (electro-optical) pod, already used on the army version of the Patroller.
The data collected by this multi-sensor suite will be transmitted to the combat systems on several warships, as well as to operations centers.
Safran is one of the main participants in the OCEAN2020 consortium, which won a major contract as part of the European Commission’s 2017 Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) initiative.
This European Commission’s OCEAN2020 project, with 35 million euros 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 Leonardo-led OCEAN2020 consortium won this contract by uniting companies of all sizes, along with academic institutions and government representatives from 15 European Union countries. The winning team will conduct two demonstrations involving the operation of new surveillance systems and integrated information processing systems, deployed in several European naval exercises, first in the Mediterranean in 2019 then in the Baltic Sea in 2020.
Safran’s Contribution to OCEAN2020 project
Safran will contribute to the innovative nature of the OCEAN2020 project by developing an autonomous mission function for naval drones. An onboard data processing function will enable the Patroller drone to detect and automatically track suspect ships in its search zone, while also consolidating key data (speed, trajectory, size, registration numbers, other visual proofs, etc.) to facilitate the job of operators.
These new functionalities will offer a decisive advantage in ensuring the success of drone surveillance operations by navies and government agencies.
Thierry Dupoux, chief innovation officer at Safran Electronics & Defense, said, “We are very proud to be advancing our road map for drone mission systems in maritime surveillance applications. We’re very fortunate to be able to apply our skills to help develop this large-scale European defense R&D program.”
European Commission’s 2017 Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) initiative
PADR is a three-year program organized by the European Commission to test the EU’s defense Research & Technology (R&T) funding mechanisms, via several targeted projects. It heralds the launch of a framework program to support defense research starting in 2021.