Polish Industry Involved in the EU-Funded Unmanned Technology Programme

Photo: MKFI/Wikipedia
Photo: MKFI/Wikipedia

PGZ S.A. and OBR CTM S.A. companies are about to join 40 European entities that are involved in the OCEAN 2020 programme. The initiative constitutes one of the first pan-European military research programmes, financed by the European Defence Fund. The goal of the project is to expand the potential that is offered by the unmanned technologies, when it comes to surface, submersible and aerial vehicles used to monitor and carry out reconnaissance in the maritime domain.

The PGZ Group, together with its OBR CTM facility, would be involved in the OCEAN 2020 initiative, which is one of the latest projects pursued by EDA (European Defence Agency). The whole undertaking attained high ratings in the first competition of the PADR (Preparatory Action on Defence  Research) pilot programme. The main objective of the project is to expand the allied Navies’ capabilities, within the scope of monitoring and carrying out reconnaissance in the area of European Union’s territorial waters. The undertaking assumes that unmanned aerial, submersible and surface craft are expected to be involved in the operational activities to a greater extent.

Participation in the OCEAN 2020 initiative is a great chance for us. There is no doubt – the unmanned platforms play more and more significant role in the contemporary armed forces, this also applies to the Navy. The unification of systems utilized by the European armies is a step in the right direction. Not only would it increase the level of our security, but it could also have an impact on growth of competitiveness of the European defence industry. Participating in a project so significant is seen by the PGZ as a perfect opportunity to obtain new competencies and expand the portfolio of solutions offered to the Polish Armed Forces and our allies.

Member of the board at the Polish Armament Group, Maciej Lew-Mirski.

PGZ, working together with OBR CTM, would provide the European partners with expertise in the field of building and integrating land-based and shipborne sea observation systems. Numerous solutions contained in the portfolios of the aforesaid entities are being utilized by the Polish Navy as of now. The Polish defence industry would work in collaboration with EDA, developing a system, integrating it, preparing exercises, or even drawing conclusions and summarizing the project. The entities from Poland would also support the Polish Navy in the project-related exercises and training operations.

OCEAN2020 team led by the Italian Leonardo company consists of 42 entities hailing from 15 European states. The MoDs involved include organs from Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain or Lithuania. Extra support is provided by Ministries of Defence of Sweden, France, the UK, Estonia and the Netherlands. Negotiation with the Polish MoD is underway. Indra, Safran, Saab, MBDA, PGZ/OBR CTM, Hensoldt, Intracom-IDE, Fincantieri and QinetiQ can be listed among the industrial partners of the programme. Fraunhofer, TNO, CMRE (NATO) and IAI are, on the other hand, some of the research centres involved.

OCEAN2020 is the first pan-European military research project. The objective of the initiative is to test unmanned aerial, surface and submersible platforms coupled with naval situation monitoring systems that are being already used. Ultimately the work is to be translated into enhanced effectiveness of monitoring of the area contained within the EU maritime boundaries.

The project schedule includes two major military exercises, with the first one being organized by Marina Militare and Leonardo in the Mediterranean region (2019). The second operation would take place in the Baltic area, and it is going to be prepared by the Swedish Navy in collaboration with the Swedish defence industry. The data gathered as a result of the said test programme would be use to create a European prototype of a C2 centre, to be stationed in Brussels.