Safran to participate in OCEAN2020 project, chosen by the European Commission for the PADR defence research programme.
Safran is one of the main participants in the OCEAN2020 consortium, which has been awarded a contract as part of the European Commission's 2017 Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) initiative.
The OCEAN2020 project, with €35m in funding, aims to develop a technology demonstrator that will validate the concept of deploying a complete array of drone systems (air, surface and sub-surface) for surveillance in a maritime environment.
The Leonardo-led OCEAN2020 consortium includes companies of various sizes, along with academic institutions and government representatives from 15 EU countries. The 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 (2020).
During these naval operations, Safran will deploy a maritime surveillance version of its Patroller drone. The fixed-wing, long-endurance drone will be outfitted with a new mission system, including a maritime surveillance radar, an automatic identification system (AIS) for ships and Safran's Euroflir 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 centres.
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.
The PADR is a three-year programme organised by the European Commission to test the EU's defence Research & Technology (R&T) funding mechanisms, via several targeted projects. It is managed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) under a delegation agreement with the Commission. The PADR could pave the way for the launch of a framework programme to support defence research starting in 2021.