Successful second sea demonstration for OCEAN2020 in the Baltic Sea
Aug 29, 2021
On August 25-26, the Combat Divers Service of Lithuanian Special Operations Forces and the Lithuanian Navy Patrol Ship P11 "Žemaitis" participated in the two-day OCEAN2020 demonstration in the Baltic Sea, Hanö Bight in Southern Sweden. Live trial was conducted to demonstrate enhanced situational awareness in a maritime environment through the integration of new technologies for unmanned systems. The Patrol Ship P11 "Žemaitis" equipped with Combat Management System (CMS) had integrated console of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Ground Control Station and ad-hoc communication systems developed by project partner "Leonardo" (Italy). The Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (BPTI) was responsible for equipment integration.
The demonstration ran two scenarios: high-speed surface threat and unknown submerged activity. The execution of the two scenarios was based on the utilization of Patrol Ship P11 "Žemaitis", the Polish, Swedish and German Navy vessels, and twelve different unmanned systems.
During the two-day live demonstration different unmanned systems proved their capacity of patrolling, detection, identification, and classification of threats thanks to the images acquired by different sensors including radar detection and EO/IR video. In particular, some unmanned systems were deployed for patrolling and threat detection, while others tracked the threat up to interception and neutralisation.
While the first scenario combined surveillance, interdiction and engagement of multiple high-speed unmanned surface threats with all types of UxV's and assistance of Combat Divers Service, the focus of the second scenario was to detect and identify underwater threats, e.g., sea mines or IED, laid from hostile submarines and to detect insertion of hostile Special Forces onto a friendly coast.
The Baltic Sea Demonstration tested how the information collected from the aerial, surface and underwater unmanned systems and remotely operated vehicles deployed in the area of operations can enhance situational awareness by ensuring real-time information exchange and integration.
The real-time information collected from the unmanned systems was transmitted to the vessels and the European Union Maritime Operations Centre (EU MOC), established at the headquarters of the European Defence Agency in Brussels. The Baltic Sea demonstration highlighted "OCEAN2020" aim to enhance situational awareness, cost-effectiveness, and data fusion to improve the tactical picture at the tactical and operational level.
The Baltic Sea trials provided valuable experience for the Lithuanian Navy as well. "Integration of videos coming from small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and ad-hoc communication systems into CMS has significantly improved our capabilities to detect and monitor objects while a real information from unmanned system has enabled combat diver service team to follow real-time development of the situation on board a hostile ship. Close cooperation with European developers of UxV's and a better understanding of industry trends will contribute to developing a new Navy ship in the near future", - says project manager, Lieutenant Commander of the Lithuanian Navy Remigijus Zabiela.
In the OCEAN2020 project, BPTI is also developing augmented reality solutions for the operators of unmanned systems. The aim is to make the user interface more intuitive and take advantage of innovative technologies, thus enabling one operator to control several unmanned vehicles simultaneously.
According to BPTI director dr. Tomas Žalandauskas participation in such projects reveals the still underused potential of Lithuanian researchers and engineers in the defence industry. "OCEAN2020 is pioneering naval military innovations. As project partners, we have the opportunity from the very beginning to develop Europe's future defence systems and accumulate critical technological competencies. In this way, as a nation we become technology developers, not just users, while closer integration in building allied defence industry will contribute to the greater security of our country ", - continues dr. T. Žalandauskas.
Funded from the European Union's Preparatory Action on Defence Research under grant agreement No 801697, OCEAN2020 received funding of €35.48 Million. In 2018, project has been launched by a consortium of 43 partners from 15 European countries.
More information on the project Ocean 2020: https://ocean2020.eu/