Continuity, Heritage and Consistency: R&D At OBR CTM S.A.
OBR CTM S.A. company (Research and Development Centre – Centre for Maritime Technology) that is a part of the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) is developing and delivering its products with domestic and foreign customer in mind. This has been made possible also thanks to the continuous and consistent R&D, implementation and scientific efforts undertaken at the company. Since 37 years of its existence, the company has been consistently working on developing new and existing products and technologies, claims Hubert Jando PhD, spokesman for OBR CTM S.A., in his article written for Defence24.com.
During the first decade since it has been founded, OBR CTM S.A. was focused on designing warships and shipborne systems, as well as broadly understood passive protection systems for the warships. Work undertaken during that period was focused on designing of the Project 255 minehunters, development of models and subsystem prototypes. The company was also engaged in manufacturing and researching armament, mechanisms, equipment and systems for the Project 207 minesweepers. Furthermore, OBR CTM was also working on research in the domain of signatures pertaining to the warships.
Political transformation of 1989 followed by a deep restructuring of the military in the early 1990s had a relevant impact on the research programmes initiated at the Polish OBR CTM S.A. facility. Demand became limited when it came to design works pertaining to new warships. The above created a necessity for OBR CTM S.A. to evolve and begin work on designing systems for modernized warships, including mine countermeasure vessels, above all. Over that period the primary domains were shaped, in which the OBR CTM S.A. facility specializes today. The above includes warship and coastal C4ISR solutions, undersea warfare systems with a particular emphasis placed on monitoring of the underwater situation, mine countermeasures, terrorism countermeasures for harbours, anchorages and sea routes or other elements of the maritime critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, as the facility was driven and motivated to increase the quality of the research and manufacturing services, specialized laboratories have been established at OBR CTM S.A., including ones focused on vibroacoustics, impact resistance, magnetic fields and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).
Later on, a need emerged to undertake new research covering the field of systems that could be used to monitor underwater terrorist threat. As a result of the above, “Kryl” research project was launched and lasted between 2000 and 2003. The goal of the “Kryl” project was to develop a multi-sensor protection system for the Gdynia harbour of the Polish Navy. The system was to detect threat posed by divers, small submarines and surface vessels. “Kryl” was tasked with detecting underwater sabotage attempts with the use of hydroacoustic sensors, magnetic barriers and optical sensors placed above the water level.
The know-how and expertise obtained through the above initiative also allowed OBR CTM S.A. to participate in international programmes and R&D projects undertaken within the NATO framework. OBR CTM S.A. has been actively involved in the NATO „Defence Against Terrorism Program of Work” programme. The Polish company, so far, has implemented six projects within that scope. The work concerned the development and design of a technology demonstrator of a multi-sensor detection system, and the area of acting against underwater threats.
Since quite some time now OBR CTM S.A. has also been involved in R&D effort undertaken for EDA, with regards to unmanned maritime platforms. „Unmanned Maritime Systems for mine counter-measures and other naval applications” is one of the projects involving the Gdynia-based company. The goal of the first project - „Modular Lightweight Minesweeping” (MLM) - was to develop a technology demonstrator of a modular, light, non-contact minesweep. CTM is now working on the MLM II project that is a continuation of the MLM initiative. The effort is aimed at further development of the aforesaid minesweep.
Another project, known under the name “Buried Mines” (BURMIN) and implemented between 2013 and 2017, saw OBR CTM S.A. being responsible for developing a stabilized underwater sensor platform featuring magnetic and electromagnetic sensors. The platform was also designed to accommodate other types of sensors.
Starting from March 2018, OBR CTM S.A. has been working on the EDA OCEAN 2020 initiative, as a part of a European consortium. The goal of the initiative above is to increase the potential offered by the unmanned air, naval and submersible platforms, within the scope of monitoring and observing the water bodies, within the EU territorial waters. At the moment the company is taking action aimed at getting involved in another international programme: HARMSPRO (Harbour & Maritime Surveillance and Protection). The initiative in question is taking place within the scope of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation). The objective set for the HARMSPRO programme is to create a system that would facilitate monitoring and protection of harbour and coastal waters.
Recently OBR CTM S.A. has been working on the “Modern Kormoran II Minehunter” R&D project, aimed at delivering a modern MCMV to the Polish Navy. Over the course of the aforesaid project the company created an integrated ship’s combat system, including: SCOT Ship Combat Management System, passive protection system, underwater observation system, including sonars, as well as mine countermeasures. Notably, OBR CTM S.A. is also working on another two “Kormoran” class minehunters, in line with the agreements signed by and between the company and the Polish Ministry of Defence. Thus, OBR CTM S.A. is tasked with delivering key systems for the aforesaid vessels, that remain critical when it comes to the mission assigned to the Kormoran vessels.
Currently OBR CTM S.A. is undertaking its R&D and implementation efforts at the R&D department that encompasses expertise concerning the radio communications, datalinks, undersea combat, underwater observation, C2, weapons control and product tests and certification. Within the framework of the first domain, the company is developing electronics (including design efforts concerning analogue and digital electronics). OBR CTM is also working on programming of the embedded systems and designing of the communication suites.
The second area is related to development and design of passive protection systems, undersea weapons (including mines and mine countermeasures) and to measurements and testing of mechanisms and systems on magnetic signature test stations. The company also deals with magnetic signature measurements on the water bodies, with the use of the underwater sensor platform. Area number three concerns detection and hydroacoustic/magnetic threat classification (SHL sonars). Within the scope of this domain OBR CTM is designing hydroacoustic, electronic, electric systems and is also working in the area of material engineering, positioning and automation.
The fourth domain concerns development of coastal and vessel command and control systems. The last area, thanks to the expansive research infrastructure, allows OBR CTM to render certified research services, in line with the scope of accreditation granted by the Polish MoD, Polish Centre of Accreditation and with endorsement provided by the Polish Register of Shipping. Furthermore, it also allows OBR CTM to work on testing of the military equipment, maritime hardware and commercial systems.
R&D and implementation work undertaken at OBR CTM S.A. makes it possible to introduce advanced and innovative solutions in the area of integrated military and civil technologies which, in particular, concerns command and control, data processing and analysis, communications, warship and underwater solutions. The experienced research and technology staff working at the company remains in possession of know-how, experience and expertise within the scope of developing products and services meeting the customer’s demand and high environmental and reliability requirements. OBR CTM S.A. also has a rich portfolio of implemented solutions developed over the course of international programmes and R&D initiatives, within the EU, EDA and NATO institutional frameworks.
The company, as it is also a part of the PGZ Group, is also planning participation in the future projects undertaken by EDA, thus sharing its expertise and experience in a role of manufacturer, supplier and integrator of complex systems. The unique background and qualified staff allows CTM to take part in those projects as a competent and equal partner.
Hubert Jando PhD, spokesman for OBR CTM S.A.