Answer to Written Question: Drone swarm trials in the Mediterranean and the Baltic
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
The defence research project OCEAN2020 was awarded a European Union (EU) grant from the Preparatory Action on Defence Research. The project’s main objective is to develop integrated system concepts for enhanced situational awareness in a maritime environment. Situation awareness relies on acquiring, integrating/ fusing, and analysing considerable amounts of information about the considered area of operation, coming from different and heterogeneous sources.
Rather than developing a swarm of drones, which would mean that drones work together to achieve a specific goal, OCEAN2020 relates to interoperability. The project uses information acquired from various areal, naval surface and underwater unmanned systems and combines it with the whole set of naval information available to build up a common ‘Recognised Maritime Picture’ for military commanders.
The project includes two large-scale technology demonstrations: one in the Mediterranean Sea, that took place on 21 November 2019; and one in the Baltic Sea that took place in August 2021. No other trial is foreseen.
The trials aim to demonstrate systems requirements in different operational conditions and according to given scenarios designed on purpose, including a number of unmanned systems provided by the national entities involved. It is the prerogative of the project to select the unmanned systems to be used according to the systems requirements.
Apart from the national Maritime Operations Centres (MOC), the project deployed a blueprint for a future EU Maritime Operations Centre (EU MOC) – but not an EU Maritime Command Centre – in the premises of the European Defence Agency.