The future operational scenario is often characterized by unprecedented level of rapidly changing risks and uncertainty which in turn requires European detection and countermeasure capabilities, growing in their level of sophistication and variety of the response type, agility, and preparation to face different types of threats.
Launched under European Defence Industrial Development programme in December 2021, the project CARMENTA “Future European Self Protection System for Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing airborne platforms” will design a next generation self-protection system (SPS) for aerial platforms able to face a wide and heterogeneous spectrum of current and evolving threats in the operational area. It will be based on Open Architecture and International Standards to enable an easy integration into legacy and future platforms and implementation of new technologies, making use of Artificial Intelligence and cognitive behaviour to support sensor operation in a complex environment.
Ministries of Defence representing the five different Consortium countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark)have confirmed their involvement in the project by signing Letter of Intent. They will contribute in the final assessment of operational needs to be translated into requirements and final validation of the system concept.
The project will be based on EU owned solutions, so that EU design authority remains the baseline, in order to avoid any kind on non-EU dependencies. The consortium includes the major EU Electronic Warfarechampions as well as the major EU platform and system integrators. In total it brings together 18 leading industry members, large companies, midcaps and SME‘s from eight EU countries: Elettronica (coordinator, Italy), Leonardo (Italy), Thales(France), SAFRAN (France), MBDA France, Indra (Spain), AIRBUS Defence & Space SAU (Spain), AIRBUS Helicopters (Spain), Hensoldt (Germany), AIRBUS Defence & Space GmbH (Germany), SAAB (S3G) (Germany), Terma (Denmark), Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (Lithuania), DA-Group (Finland).
The project has a duration of 30 months and a budget of approximately € 10 million.
Mr. Paolo Izzo, Chief Sales Officer of Elettronica, Coordinator company of the CARMENTA Consortium, said: “Succeeding in following the fast technological trends and technology breakthrough shall be a key element to address the air superiority goal with a European sovereign technologies. CARMENTA is a SPS suite that will push forward the EU technological excellence, through its strong innovative characteristics driven by cooperative capability, the highly integrated, modular, and fully in-field reconfigurable design”.
CARMENTA will be developed based on a modular design and standard interfaces that will allow easy system reconfiguration, based on specific mission or end users’ needs, and the possibility to accommodate future technologies like new sensors and new actuators. This capability will also simplify the integration into the legacy and future platform. Interoperability will be another key driver of the CARMENTA system: it will be open to sharing and coordination of assets among different platforms equipped with CARMENTA, allowing for a dynamic system management during the mission, as well as to share and receive information with different allied platforms.
CARMENTA will consider the wide and heterogeneous spectrum of threats, conventional (like current air defence systems) and new and/or unconventional (e.g. hostile use of unmanned vehicles to defeat friendly platforms, cyber-attacks, directed energy weapons). Moreover, CARMENTA system shall have cognitive behaviours. It will be able to assess and prioritise threats in the area of operations and shall select the proper reaction, evaluate the effectiveness and predict the consequences, so reducing and simplifying the human-in-the-loop effort.
The design of the future SPS for airborne platforms will start from an analysis of the concept of operations (CONOPS) followed by a functional analysis, technical assessment and gap analysis based on the current technologies and solutions. This will allow to design the candidate architectures, the studies for integration on platforms, their modelling and verification on a simulation environment. Finally, the project will define the Preliminary Design at system level.