Recognized Maritime Picture, Sensor Fusion and AIS: inside the Italian Navy's new Maritime Operation Center

On Jan. 19, the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) inaugurated its new Maritime Operation Center (MOC) with a ceremony that was attended by the Minister of Defense Giampaolo di Paola, along with the Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Bruno Branciforte and the Commander in Chief of the Fleet, Adm. Luigi Binelli Mantelli.

The new center, located inside the complex of Santa Rosa, near Rome, where the HQ of the Commander in Chief of the Fleet (CINCNAV) is based since 1972, was designed to meet the service’s strategic concept, based on the integrated surveillance of maritime areas of interest and the projection capabilities in the maritime environment.

The new MOC brings under the same roof the Maritime Surveillance Operations Center and the Air-Sea Operation Center.

The Air-Sea Operation Center controls the assigned forces (ships, submarines, aircraft) using a complex command and control system whose core is a Maritime Command and Control Information System.

The Maritime Surveillance Operations Center collects all data required to achieve the Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) and generate a Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP). The RMP is obtained by fusing the information collected from several “sensors”, as  radars, warships, patrol aircraft and drones, as well as other national or allied command and control systems.

One of the most important sources is the coastal radar network, mainly located in southern Italy. This network is currently being upgraded with the installation of remotely-controlled next generation sensors featuring auto-tracking and ISAR (Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology.

The AIS (Automatic Identification System), is also used to improve the MSA. Information is gathered by ashore AIS stations as well as by warships and patrol aircraft, both equipped with their own interrogation systems.

Information about merchant shipping is shared through the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center (V-RMTC). The V-RMTC is a virtual network that, resorting to Internet, interconnects the operational centers of the all the navies of the countries adhering to the initiative.
This network, provides unclassified information on merchant shipping consisting of 300 tons or more units.

Although it deals with commercial traffic, the V-RMTC has had an operational engagement in Lebanon, during Operation “Leonte”, when it allowed building a Recognized Maritime Merchant Picture for Lebanon (RMMP-L).

All images by Giovanni Maduli for The

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.