EUROGUARD semi-autonomous surface naval vessel project kicks off in Estonia

The EUROGUARD project which aims to develop a modular and semi-autonomous surface vessel platform equipped with a remote control system has officially commenced in Estonia.

Baltic Workboats

The project, funded by the European Defence Fund (EDF), seeks to strengthen sea defense capabilities across Europe.

With an investment of almost €100 million, the project involves a collaboration between 23 enterprises and the cooperation of ten EU Member States. The consortium is coordinated by the Estonian shipbuilding company Baltic Workboats.

The kick-off involved workshops in Tallinn and a shipyard visit to Nasva, Saaremaa.

Baltic Workboats is coordinating the consortium of 23 companies and research institutes from France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Estonia.

The project total budget amounts to €95 million, with €65 million from the European Commission and €30 million from participating countries and companies themselves.

“The participation in the project and leadership of the consortium is both a great honour as well a huge responsibility that allows Baltic Workboats to demonstrate it cutting edge technology and competence as a shipbuilder as well as learn new technologies,” said Margus Vanaselja, the CEO of Baltic Workboats.

The specific capabilities of the prototype will be determined through multi-year research and development activities, but in general, the vessel should be capable of autonomous navigation, obstacle and threat detection, collision avoidance, and other mission-specific tasks. The prototype must adhere to the principle of modularity, allowing it to be assembled according to specific needs or tasks. Innovation is also expected in the propulsion system, with environmental sustainability being an important keyword.

Baltic Workboats is responsible for constructing the test vessel, all the work will take place in Nasva factory, Saaremaa.

The prototype’s sea trials will also be conducted in Estonian waters in collaboration with the Estonian Navy.

EUROGUARD will combine innovative technologies to study, design, prototype and test a first-of-its-kind versatile medium-sized semi-autonomous surface naval vessel. The sea trials will be conducted in Estonian waters in collaboration with the Estonian Navy. It is planned to be completed and tested by the end of 2027.

“The EDF funded four-year project EUROGUARD is a major step forward in EU cross-border cooperation at both industrial and governmental levels in the naval sector. EUROGUARD reinforces the European Defence Industrial and Technological Base, and fosters greater, and concrete defence cooperation while providing EU navies with a multipurpose and cost-effective capability for littoral operational environments,” Francisco Casalduero, Programme Manager at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Defence Industry and Space, said.

The European Defence Fund aims to strengthen the European defence industry and promote research and development in the field. The fund supports the development of innovative projects and the creation of unified defence capabilities across the EU.