Leonardo was selected by the European Union’s European Defence Agency to lead the first European Defence Fund initiative, OCEAN2020, part of a broader effort to boost Europe’s defensive capabilities.

The OCEAN2020 team consists of 42 partners from 15 European countries. These include the Ministries of Defence of Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Lithuania, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and Estonia and the Netherlands. Other European industrial partners include Indra, Safran, Saab, MBDA, PGZ/CTM, Hensoldt, Intracom-IDE, Fincantieri and QinetiQ.

OCEAN2020 is the first example of a cross-European military research program. “It is the leading technological research project dedicated to the very topical issue of maritime surveillance, which is of interest across Europe and to the Mediterranean region in particular,” said Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo.

The research project will see the integration of unmanned platforms in surveillance and interdiction missions, such fixed wing, rotary wing, surface and underwater – and will provide a new venue to see the cooperative benefits of using unmanned and manned vehicles together. The endeavor is scheduled to begin in 2019 in the Mediterranean Sea.