European Firms Kick Off ‘Smart’ Ship Project to Strengthen Sea Defense

A European consortium has begun developing a semi-autonomous modular surface vessel for European navies.

Estonian shipbuilder Baltic Workboats will develop the prototype by the end of 2027.

Its expected features include remote control capability, autonomous navigation, obstacle and threat detection, and collision avoidance.

Mission Specific Capabilities to Be Determined

Mission specific capabilities will be determined over its research and development period.

Other expected features include an innovative propulsion system and environmentally sustainable design and development.

“Our common interest is to advance shipbuilding technologies and to develop a universal vessel platform that can be modularly adapted according to missions,” The Baltic Times quoted the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments’ (RKIK) Ats Janno as saying.

“The prototype will definitely need further development, but the closer we get to a competitive and comprehensive result in military, technical and economic terms, the greater the future vitality of the project.”

$103 Million Project 

A consortium of 23 companies, led by RKIK and Baltic Workboats, will develop the vessel under the Euroguard project.

The three-phased 95-million-euro ($103 million) project includes “the development of a new fleet base architecture, the creation of a physical prototype of the vessel and its testing in late 2027, and the development of a data-centric autonomous ship architecture,” The Baltic Times wrote.

The European Defence Fund will contribute 65 million euros ($70.7 million) to the project while the rest will be provided by the participating companies and countries.

The consortium comprises firms and research institutions from 10 countries: France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, and Estonia.

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