Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defense, awarded the Innovation Trophy to ECA Group during the inauguration of the Euronaval tradeshow for their patent baptized STERNA®.
This patent combines the use of an UAV (for example, the UAV IT180) and a magnetic sensor carried by the drone to measure a ship’s magnetism.
This patent is the fruit of a joint effort between ECA Group and EOST (Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre), the French School and Observatory for Earth Sciences, in the scope of a partnership related to magnetism in the naval sector.
The IT180 drone is a mini rotary-wing UAV that can be easily operated from any ship due to its compact size and its high-accuracy navigation even in strong winds. Moreover, it can be configured to operate in a tethered version (UAV IT180-999) to act as a radio relay or to detect drifting mines, for example.
The innovation rewarded today by this trophy consists in having this drone carry a magnetic sensor able to measure a ship’s magnetism while performing an aerial survey by a drone. Having a low magnetic signature is essential for these ships in order to avoid exploding on mines able to detect a magnetic mass. Measuring a ship’s magnetism is therefore important as it enables the adjustment of onboard compensation systems in order to modify its magnetism to the lowest possible values.
Using this innovation, any vessel equipped with an UAV IT180 will be able to verify and periodically adjust its magnetism as often as possible while today this is only possible at submarine bases which are often a fixed or permanent facility.
This innovation is rooted in a multi-task approach of the IT180 in the naval sector. Any ship can accommodate the IT180 as a technical tool capable of performing various tasks serving the ship’s crew or its mission:
- Interception of suspicious vessels
- Detection of drifting mines
- Measure a ship’s magnetism
- Radar calibration
- Radio relay for communications with aerial or surface drones;
- Recovery of data from underwater drones (DRONECOM® patent)
- Coastal (land) surveillance