To meet the rising threat towards merchant ships, AUTOPROTECTION project aims to design, build and test full-scale demonstrator of a new concept of non-lethal protection against maritime piracy.

Selected by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, in 2013 under the first AMI Ships of the Future program, AUTOPROTECTION project under the auspices of SAGEM is developed by a consortium of French complementary industrials with the objective to develop scalable and effective solutions to protect crews and vessels against piracy.

Thus, relying on the expertise gained in particular through its activities Defense and Oil & Gas, SOFRESUD is responsible for:

  • The development of management system AUTOPROTECTION, implementing key treatments to ensure efficiency and performance of self-protection in a context of crisis (very short reaction time, minimum availability of potentially stressed operators).
  • The development of water repulsion system, including repulsion systems fleet monitoring and automatic servo using aiming system data on detected threats, to prevent unwanted boarding.

Key data

  • Budget: € 12.7 million, which €4.9 million are grants and repayable advances obtained as part of Future Investments
  • Modular and configurable based system according to ships and risks
  • Non-lethal system adapted to the constraints of the Merchant Navy
  • Automatic detection and threat assessment
  • Crew localization

AUTOPROTECTION The system aims to offer effective protection against pirate attacks at sea, adapted to the operating constraints of merchant ships, including ease of use. The aim is to prevent or at least delay, the pirate’s intrusion on the ship, while protecting the crew and giving them the opportunity to keep some control of the ship.

As defense principles for the in-depth securing of nuclear infrastructures, the system is based on the concept of “multilayer” defense. The goal is to accumulate layers to reduce dramatically the likelihood of a successful pirate attack quantified by taking control of the vessel at a given minimum time.

Specific means are associated with each layer and the system is designed to be highly modular by choice of all or part of the means proposed:

  • Surveillance and detection : radar and infrared imaging ;
  • Deterrence: light and sound means;
  • Protection: anti RPG7s (rocket) gateway;
  • Anti - boarding : external smoke and water repulsion systems;
  • Anti -theft : waterproof armoured doors and internal smoke

In this way, no less than a dozen devices are shown in the system with their mutual potentiation over as guideline. It has been proved that an individual device can not be used individually to ensure fully protection function.


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