Today, the maritime domain has increased significance, since shipping is the heart of the global economy. Nowadays due to its vast size and increasing fleet capacity shipping fleets become targets of dangerous and illicit activities. Major modern threats to maritime security include merchandise robbery, drugs smuggling, illegal migrants, armed attack against ships, sabotage and terrorism.
Unmanned systems have the capability to reduce risk to manned forces, provide the force multiplication necessary to accomplish a wide range of missions, perform tasks which manned vehicles cannot, and do so in an affordable way.
The response of IDE to modern maritime threats is SeaRider, a dual use (manned/unmanned) surface vehicle, entailing all necessary electronics and automation to operate 24/7 even in the most adverse conditions, carrying out a variety of demanding missions.
The SeaRider platform is a harbor class, Cat B (up to 8 Beaufort) Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) equipped with 2 Neoprene tubes and a Mercury 175 HP 6 cylinder 4-stroke XL engine. It incorporates a large waterproof payload room and a steel roll bar which can host a variety of surface sensors and all electronics equipment. SeaRider can operate from either a harbor or a host ship.
The USV operator controls and monitors the SeaRider and its payload from the Control Station which delivers map integration, presentation of information from the engine, navigation equipment and payload, alert, incident and resource management and many other capabilities.
Bi-directional high-speed communication between the Control Station and the USV is achieved over a state-of-the-art wideband UHF Software Defined Radio (WiWAN) system supporting extended telecoms range, dynamically adjustable network topologies, and multiple levels of security (TRANSEC and COMSEC), advanced Quality-of-Service mechanisms and powerful network management.
USV harbor Class Manned / Unmanned
- 6m RHIB Navy Standard
- Multi Support Mission with ISR
- Lethal & Non-Lethal Armament
- Standard Interfaces for fleet support
USVs’ Main Missions & Operations
- Littoral Area persistent surveillance
- Sea Lane persistent surveillance (trading routes)
- Critical Infrastructure Protection (e.g Harbour, Pipeline, Oil Rigs, Submarine cables)
- Mine Detection support
- Law Enforcement (pre-boarding and monitoring operations)
- Maritime Security (interception, neutralization and damage assessment operations)
- Search and Rescue
The Hellenic Tactical Unmanned System for ISR Operations
Τhe RX-3plus system is a Tactical Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (TRPAS) targeted at performing Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) missions with advanced autonomy through the integration of several innovative technologies and concepts. The system comprises of a fixed-wing, Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and a Ground Control Station (GCS).
The main features of RX-3plus are:
- The RX-3plus UAV is based on an innovative Blended-Wing Body (BWB) layout which offers a considerable increase in aerodynamic efficiency when compared to traditional configurations, translating to:
○ Less fuel consumption, thus higher endurance
○ Improved payload capacity
- The RX-3plus UAV is equipped with multiple ISR sensors, coupled with state-of-the-art, AI-based, on-board sensor data processing capabilities for target detection, recognition, identification and classification. AI-based techniques are used for situational awareness and autonomy to minimize the workload and maximize the efficiency of the operator.
- The RX-3plus UAV employs robust and field-proven avionics, engineered with emphasis on safety, reliability and operation in GNSS-denied environments. The avionics consist of a triple-redundant Flight Control System (FCS), a navigation system, associated peripherals and instruments necessary for flight as well as safety equipment.
- The RX-3plus GCS is cyber-secure and versatile, accommodating the needs of all required user profiles.
- The RX-3plus system is complemented with long-range, robust, ad-hoc radio communication systems, providing high-rate COMSEC-enabled payload data downlink capability, a sensor telemetry downlink, a command uplink for payload control, as well as video and telemetry broadcast to forces in the field.
The main operational capabilities of the RX-3plus system are equivalent of those of a MALE aircraft at much lower cost and size, due to the rapid technological progress made during the last few years leading to the minimization of the size, weight and power consumption of the necessary electronic subsystems.
RX-3plus has been specifically designed to facilitate collaborative mission execution in the form of teaming and swarming among unmanned assets, since the employed communication systems support Flying Ad-hoc Networking topologies (FANETs). These capabilities open up new possibilities for ISR and combat missions. In this scenario, the RX-3plus UAV provides wide-area ISR services, spots areas of interest and provides high quality intelligence to personnel so that they can organize special operations. The RX-3plus can also be used to enhance the communication range of other unmanned assets, providing local coverage down to ground level.
The LOTUS project addresses the feasibility, detailed design, prototyping and testing of a low-observable, airworthy and interoperable Tactical Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (TRPAS) targeted at ISR missions. This project aims at addressing an important need of EU Member States which is the capability of TRPAS to operate in contested environments, which is clearly expressed in the Common Operational Requirements agreed upon by the Hellenic, Cypriot and Dutch MoDs who support the project.
The development will include: a mothership TRPAS equipped with ISR sensors, designed for low observability and high endurance, incorporating a self-protection system against enemy threats; a system of tube-launched, foldable-wing drones, deployable from the mothership, while this later remains at a safe distance; on-board sensor data processing capabilities for target detection, recognition, identification and classification; and a ground station which will be designed by the “security-by-design” principles.
The LOTUS project is funded by the European Defense Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) and the MoDs of Greece and Cyprus. The LOTUS consortium is led by IDE (coordinator) and consists of 11 partners from Greece (IDE, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, ALTUS, CFT, University of Patras and Hellenic Air Force Telecommunications-Electronic Means Plant), Cyprus (SignalGenerix, Cyric, Geoimaging), Spain (Embention) and Holland (RHEA).