Sara García Alonso: “the world cannot afford to lose 50% of talent”

The WomIn‘ forum manages to bring together, in its first edition, great references in engineering to promote the role of women in the sector. It was held today at the facilities of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, with the attendance of more than half a thousand students – schoolgirls and university students. Sara García Alonso, the first Spanish woman Reserve Astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), recommends future engineers to have courage to innovate and infinite curiosity.

Sara García Alonso, the first Spanish woman Reserve Astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), recommends future engineers to have courage to innovate and infinite curiosity. The molecular biologist has participated in ‘WomIn’, the meeting to awaken STEM vocations that is held at the UPCT, and which has the attendance of more than half a thousand students. Before this large group of students, Sara García, has remembered her early years of studies, “my vocation began in a playful way, my parents encouraged me to investigate, to see things through a microscope and to ask myself many questions. We have to apply technology to almost all sectors, so that society improves, so I ask you not to limit your curiosity”. 

She concluded that Science is passion and that she has been selected among 23,000 candidates, through a process of 18 months, “with exams of all kinds, astronauts are dedicated to research from space, so it is always too early to give up, dare to pursue your dreams”. She also explained how most of the technology has been developed by men and for men, a trend that is slowly changing, because “the world cannot afford to lose 50% of talent”.  

The meeting has had the testimonies of Beatriz Miguel, first rector of a polytechnic university in Spain; Anabel Díaz, general manager of Uber for Europe, Middle East and Africa; Consuelo Lázaro, director of Operations SAES; Noelia Ortega, director of the Naval and Sea Technology Centre and Cristina Abad, director of Navantia Systems, have made Cartagena today the epicentre of engineering in our country.

They and the more than half a thousand students, who have attended “WomIn, the Women’s Forum in Engineering 2024”, have made the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) vibrate. 

This innovative day started today in the Isaac Peral Room of the CIM Building with a full house and eyes set on the stars. It could not be otherwise since it brought together two unstoppable forces: that of vocation and that of experience.  

At the meeting, Anabel Díaz Calderón, CEO UBER explained that “engineers design the products of the future and women must participate and contribute to the solutions and sustainability of tomorrow”. 

For her part, Consuelo Lázaro, Chief Operating Officer at SAES, appealed to social responsibility stating that “there is no need to wait for us to be dictated rules to demand equality, in society and the workplace”.   

Throughout the morning, the masterful interventions of these women engineers who are a reference at national and international level, have sought a triple common objective: to value the role of women in engineering, promoting the access of young women to STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), to make visible the importance of female talent in industry and social development and to awaken professional vocations among the youngest students. 

For her part, Cristina Abad, director of Navantia Systems, highlighted that “we have to make engineering attractive for young women” and Noelia Ortega, from the Naval and Sea Technology Centre, explained that “being a woman is a value that contributes a lot to society, also in engineering”.

Along with them, we have three other women who well represent professionalism and female talent in the Region, Noelia Arroyo, mayor of Cartagena; Azucena Marín, CEO of Comunicología, and Eva Franco, director of Communication, Sustainability and Social Action at Hidrogea, moderator of one of the experience tables. 

The initiative of the UPCT has had the collaboration of companies such as SAES, which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary, and Hidrogea, as well as the Naval and Sea Technology Centre. 

SAES successfully hosts a real-time connection initiative with Antarctica for children from the TALENTOS association

The TALENTOS association, which brings together parents with children diagnosed with high intellectual abilities, has joined the 37th Antarctic Campaign on Deception Island along with several educational centres and participated in a video call with the scientific base at the SAES facilities. This collaboration is a unique opportunity to foster scientific vocation among the youngest and bring them closer to the research carried out in one of the most remote places on the planet.

Today, Monday 4th of March, SAES has hosted a real-time connection initiative with Antarctica for a group of 30 children from the ‘TALENTOS High Intellectual Abilities Region of Murcia‘ association: a collective of parents with children diagnosed with high intellectual abilities. The video conference connection with the civilian and military personnel stationed at the Spanish Antarctic Base “Gabriel de Castilla” has allowed the children to learn first-hand about the scientific activity taking place in the XXXVII Antarctic Campaign on Deception Island.

During the connection, which began at 10 o’clock sharp in the morning and lasted approximately two hours, the children were able to ask questions to the scientists and learn more about their daily life and their activity in Antarctica.

The scientists told the children present, from various educational centres and associations, among other things, about the long journey with the Hespérides ship [built for multidisciplinary scientific research in any sea or ocean, including Arctic and Antarctic Areas] or how they prepare for a year before starting the mission (in the months of the Antarctic summer). In addition, the base personnel talked about their daily life, the importance of waste management to leave no trace of their passage, and interesting details of small daily missions or even the lack of trees and plants there. In this task, they have the logistical support of the Army, which also protects and preserves the area. Among the local fauna, they highlighted the sea lions, the crab seal, Weddell seal, the elephant seal and a wide variety of birds. Although, according to their words, “the chinstrap penguins are the kings of Deception Island.”

The scientists of this year’s campaign arrived at the base on December 31, 2023, and return in March: the arrival of the Hespérides ship in Cartagena (Spain) is expected for the month of April.

The possibility of sponsoring a penguin from Deception Island was also mentioned, an initiative of the Spanish Ministry of Defence that seeks to promote environmental care.  

For Esther Corbalán, Head of People Development at SAES, “this event has been a unique opportunity to foster scientific vocation among the youngest and bring them closer to the research carried out in one of the most remote places on the planet”. In addition, this initiative “is aligned with the promotion of STEM vocations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in children from an early age in which SAES has been committed for years”

In addition to the children from the TALENTOS association, a dozen Primary and Secondary students whose parents are part of the SAES staff, a company specialised in underwater technology that innovates for a safer world, have joined this activity.

Navantia, SAES, and Perseo commit to developing a line of unmanned underwater vehicles

Navantia, SAES, and Perseo have announced during the FEINDEF (defence and security exhibition) their intention to develop a line of unmanned underwater vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art sensors to deploy exploration and surveillance capabilities in increasingly demanding operational theatres.

Navantia has launched a roadmap to incorporate a range of solutions based on unmanned vehicles (UXV) into its product catalogue, aiming to cover the full spectrum of missions to be executed in different domains: naval, aerial, and land, where these platforms provide tactical superiority. This roadmap is part of the company’s Horizon 5.0, a long-term plan through which Navantia aims to strengthen its systems business as a core activity alongside shipbuilding, intelligent services, and green energies.

In the submarine domain, SAES, a leading company in underwater acoustics and electronics with nearly 35 years of experience in developing technologies in this field, positions itself as one of the main national players to provide tactical and mission capabilities to unmanned vehicles (UXVs) based on its expertise in sonar technology, underwater communications, and operational concepts for various missions. SAES, whose essence and strategy are summarised in its new brand “innovate, develop, and protect”, approaches this field from two perspectives: collaborating in their development to make them truly autonomous and using them in conjunction with other proprietary systems to provide submarine defence solutions within the scope of its business lines.

Perseo Techworks, a Spanish company specialising in UXV, numerical simulation, onboard electronics, rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, IoT, and artificial intelligence, has extensive knowledge and experience in the sector, participating in various European projects and R&D+i at the national level.

SAES and Perseo, together with Abance Ingeniería y Servicios, Arisnova, and Eolos Floating Lidar Solutions, participate in the E-PARK+ project, led by Navantia, which seeks to develop solutions for digitising the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms using unmanned vehicles alongside other industry companies.

At FEINDEF, a UUV prototype with distinctive features that would allow it to cover a multitude of missions has been exhibited. This first approach is focused on its use in mine countermeasure (MCM) missions, although its possible application as an advanced sensor or loitering munition is being studied based on the same development and with few modifications.

Donato Martínez Pérez de Rojas, Director of Technologies and Digital Transformation and Systems and Services at Navantia, Joaquín López Pagán, President and CEO of SAES, and Sergio Olmos Guío, CEO of Perseo Techworks, have expressed their commitment to collaborate in promoting innovation in the field of autonomous underwater vehicles.

“Unmanned vehicles are an asset of growing importance for the armed forces and civilian applications. Navantia already has experience in the development of unmanned surface vessels (USV), and together with SAES and Perseo, we want to expand our catalogue to those intended for the submarine domain,” said Donato Martínez.

According to SAES President Joaquín López Pagán, “at SAES, we are committed to the development of sustainable technologies in the naval sector. Our experience in underwater acoustics and electronics positions us as one of the main players in providing autonomy to unmanned vehicles and collaborating in their development to make them truly autonomous. Moreover, as they do not require human crew members, these vehicles are a safer and more economical option for carrying out defence missions and civilian applications.”

“The development of unmanned systems requires specific technologies and working methodologies for competitive developments. Perseo Techworks works on these enabling technologies within a work scheme that allows for rapid iterations, in which simulation, rapid prototyping, and testing and trial capabilities are intertwined to create products with very short development times and adaptable to a constantly changing market,” says Sergio Olmos Guío.

Navantia, SAES, and Perseo commit to developing a line of unmanned underwater vehicles

SAES presents its ASW and MIRS systems at the Chilean show Expo Naval 2022

SAES has showcased two of its systems at Expo Naval 2022: the SPAS (Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System) that are installed on board C-295 aircrafts since 2010, and the MIRS (Multi-Influence Signature Measurement for ships and submarines). The Chilean naval show is celebrated every two years since 1998 and it has been consolidated as an encounter in Latin America for the international defence industry.

The 12 International Naval Exhibition and Congress for Latin America took place from the 29th November to the 2nd December in Valaparaíso (Chile). Navy representatives from 35 countries attended the show, along with 160 exhibitor companies, leaders on technology solutions for the naval and defence industries.

SAES presented its latest generation of SPAS (Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System) and MIRS (Multi-Influence Signature Measurement for ships and submarines), among its solutions for Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) for detecting, locating and tracking underwater threats from aerial platforms.

SAES has vast experience developing these systems for international Navies such as those of Chile, Brazil or Sweden. Chile is a key country for SAES, as they have SAES SPAS system installed in their C-295 aircrafts since 2010.

Sonobuoys acoustic processor systems

Together with the SPAS system, the DISOUROS (Integrated ASW Solution for Dipping Sonar and Sonobuoys) are both ASW solutions in the international market lead, and are developed by SAES for warships, maritime patrol aircrafts, ASW helicopters and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems).

SPAS is a solution for ASW aircrafts. An acoustic system integrated with the Tactical Mission System that allows detecting, locating and tracking submarines and ships by the acoustic signal measurement done by the sonobuoys deployed.

SPAS system is operational in different countries and different platforms such as the P-3B Orión and the C-295 aircrafts, and the SH-60B LAMPS and the A-109 helicopters.

The SPAS system also allows RPAS act as an advanced measurement station for the early warning of submarine contact.

The DISOURUS system incorporates the interoperability between the different ASW platforms involved, which allows to have a common operational picture with all the tactical information.

Underwater Signature Measurement

The MIRS system is a portable signature measurement station that receives the full signature (acoustic, magnetic and electrical) of any surface ship or submarine. It can be also used as a discreet device to gather intelligence information of the underwater signature or as a tool to verify the levels of the ship signature before an ASW mission.

Alejandro Rejas, head of Defence Market and Ignacio Gutiérrez, head of the ASW Line, representing SAES, together with frigate captain Sebastián Simenone.

SAES presents at Indo Defence its solutions for maritime security and underwater defence

SAES is participating in one of the greatest Defence exhibitions in South-East Asia: Indo Defence 2022, which takes place from 2nd to 5th November in Jakarta. SAES presents its latest systems in underwater security, measurement and protection at the show, and will host a conference on smart naval mines.

SAES is taking part in the Indo Defence international exhibition in Jakarta from 2nd to 5th November, organised by the Indonesia Ministry of Defence, with the participation of 59 countries.

Además, la compañía está manteniendo reuniones B2B con diversas A mockup of SAES smart naval mine, MINEA, is being showcased at the SAES booth, where B2B meetings are being held with companies and delegations of South-East Asian countries. Most of the interest is shown in SAES solutions on maritime security, underwater measurements as well as surveillance and protection of ports and critical infrastructures at sea.

MINEA conference

The programme of events at Indo Defence includes a conference by SAES on the 4th November at 11 AM with an overall introduction of the company, followed by a more in-depth presentation of the MINEA smart naval mines.

SAES is developing its products focusing on a constant innovation process in order to face the new trends and challenges in naval war. SAES naval mines can be activated by magnetic, electric or acoustic influences, thus improving its efficiency to protect and control strategic areas, straits, channels and other maritime zones.

Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesian companies

SAES has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two Indonesian companies, to join for common synergies within the country in the field of maritime security.

The MOU signature has been formalised in presence of the Indonesian Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto, and the Spanish Ambassador to the Indonesian Republic, Francisco Aguilera Aranda.

SAES presents its MINEA capacities at DEFSEC Atlantic

The exhibition organised by the Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defence Association, DEFSEC Atlantic, is held in Halifax (Nova Scotia) from 4 to 6 October. SAES, at DEFSEC together with Navantia, is showcasing its solutions on maritime safety and security, in particular, its MINEA smart naval mines capacities.

DEFSEC Atlantic 2022 is organised by the Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defence Association to present new opportunities to the aerospace, defence and security industries around the world.

SAES is the only Spanish company specialised in underwater acoustics and electronics that provides technology and solutions for the underwater safety and security in both civil and military sectors. SAES has more than 30 years’ experience in the naval sector, developing smart naval mines such as MINEA, equipped with multiple sensors, as well as naval mines for special forces.

SAES takes part at DEFSEC Atlantic together with Navantia, and will showcase the MINEA multi-influence naval mines, a modern system equipped with the highest detection capabilities and signal processing.

MINEA naval mines are the most advanced smart marine mines manufactured today. They are intended for training minesweeper crews to provide deeper insight to mine hunting and neutralisation techniques.

SAES develops three MINEA models specifically designed for the different depths and characteristics of shallow and deep waters: moored mines, shallow-water mines and cylindrical bottom mines. MINEA naval mines provide MCM crews with unmatched training experience and it enables them to successfully conduct counter-mine operations at sea.

SAES technology is being used by naval forces and Navies around the world, including platforms used in naval warfare such as minesweepers, frigates, submarines, maritime patrol aircrafts, anti-submarine warfare helicopters and UXV vehicles.

SAES shows its underwater surveillance and protection of critical infrastructures at TECNOSEC, the first exhibition on technology and security in Madrid

SAES participates in TECNOSEC, 1st Exhibition & Congress of High Police, Security and Intelligence Technologies that is held in Madrid on 11-12 May. In the field of security and protection of critical infrastructures, SAES presents its diver detection sonar system (DDS-03) as well as its underwater deterrent system (DES).

The first edition of TECNOSEC (11-12 May) gathers more than a hundred of national and international companies from different Institutions and Police Forces and Critical Infrastructures at the Pabellon de Cristal in Madrid. The event is organised by APTIE (Spanish association to promote technologies and strategic industries), with the collaboration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the intelligence and enforcement services of Spain.

As a global scenario for security interoperability, TECNOSEC address the new framework for physical and logical security of critical infrastructures.

Underwater protection of critical infrastructures

In the field of security, SAES know-how is at the service of underwater protection of critical infrastructures such as ports, offshore installations, fish farming (aquaculture), etc. For instance, systems such as SAES diver detection sonar system (called DDS-03), allows the protection of infrastructures from underwater threats (divers, submarine vehicles, etc.).

SAES underwater deterrent system (called DES) complements the system allowing action against intruder divers by sending audible messages to alert them. Both systems (DDS-03 and DES) can be permanently installed at the dock, from anchoring vessels or even from surveillance vehicles (including unmanned vehicles USV/UUV) in order to broaden its range of application.

Besides its solutions based on active sonars, SAES can also apply its know-how on acoustic, electric, and magnetic sensors to offer a complete and integrated underwater protection to any infrastructure that may require it.

SAES shows its underwater surveillance and protection of critical infrastructures at TECNOSEC
SAES shows its underwater surveillance and protection of critical infrastructures at TECNOSEC

Eguermin, Naval Mine Warfare school and NATO Centre of Excellence, visits SAES

Eguermin, the Naval Mine Warfare school and NATO Centre of Excellence (located in Ostend Naval Base, Belgium) visits SAES facilities for a third time as part of their training programme. Navy officials from Belgium, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, United States and Norway have been able to gain first-hand knowledge of the SAES products on underwater defence.

The delegation visiting SAES consisted of 16 members of Eguermin from a variety of countries (Belgium, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, United States and Norway), along with the MCM (Maritime Mine Countermeasure) Forces  Commander, Navy Captain José Miguel Maiquez Lax.

SAES, with facilities in Cartagena (headquarters) and San Fernando (Cádiz), is the leading company for the Spanish Navy on underwater acoustics, and it is also at the international forefront on the development and manufacturing of underwater multi-influence signature measurement systems as well as exercise naval mines.

The Eguermin delegation was welcomed by SAES General Manager, Victoria Ruiz, who gave them a brief presentation of the company and gave them a plaque of appreciation for their visit: one to Commander Evert de Boer (Eguermin School) and another one to MCM Forces  Commander, Navy Captain José Miguel Maiquez Lax. Following the welcome speech, Eguermin Navy officials attended a briefing with presentations on SAES business lines and underwater defence products such as MILA, MINEA, and its associated developments. Then they visited SAES workshops and labs in the facilities located in La Palma industrial site.

Visiting SAES for a third time

NATO Naval Mine Warfare and Centre of Excellence ‘Eguermin’ is visiting SAES for the third time, following those of 2016 and 2018, including central headquarters, workshops and labs. Two limpet naval mine mockups (MILA) developed by SAES are being exhibited in Eguermin, the Naval Mine Warfare School where NATO officials are trained.

Eguermin was created in 1965 as a Belgian-Dutch Naval Mine Warfare School and in 2006 was accredited by the North Atlantic Council as a NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence, both located in the same naval base.

SAES products on underwater defence

MINEA is the most advanced multi-influence naval mines today. It develops several types of mines (moored, shallow water and cylindrical bottom) both in combat and exercise versions.

MINEA Naval Mines are equipped with sensors for detection and processing of the magnetic, electric, pressure, acoustic and seismic signatures. MINEA Exercise version are available for training purposes and for gathering intelligence information through the measuring and recording of ship signatures.

MILA is a smart limpet mine that incorporates a programmable detonation system. It can be attached to the hull by a diver, or it can be used as a demolition charge. Its conical shape and low weight in water endow the mine with a low hydrodynamic resistance being easy to be carried by divers.

Eguermin visits SAES
Eguermin visits SAES
Eguermin visits SAES
Eguermin visits SAES
Eguermin visits SAES
Eguermin visits SAES

SAES participates in the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia with Navantia

SAES has presented its products for the naval platform detection in the first edition of the World Defense Show: MIRS, the multi-influence signature measurement system; and MINEA, the most advanced smart naval mines manufactured today. SAES has also met representatives of the Saudi industry to start a collaboration on the development of antisubmarine solutions.

SAES has exhibited along with Navantia in the first edition of the World Defense Show (WDS 2022), held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 6th to 9th March, presenting its products on underwater security and defence for both civilian and military markets.

WDS2022 is an international event to showcase the latest technological developments from around the globe. SAES is the only Spanish company specialised on underwater acoustics and electronics. It provides high-tech systems for all types of naval defence platforms such as minesweepers, frigates, submarines, maritime patrol aircrafts (MPAs), ASW helicopters and unmanned vehicles (UXV).

Javier Rodrigo, Head of the Maritime Security Line, and Alejandro Rejas, Responsible of the Defense Market, representing SAES at the World Defense Show

SAES solutions for naval platform detection

SAES has presented in the World Defense Show its products for the naval platform detection, such as MIRS (the multi-influence signature measure system), which provides high-precision measurements in real time; and MINEA, the most advanced naval mines manufactured today, which measures the real observability of naval platforms at sea.

MIRS is a multi-influence signature measurement system for surface and submarine vessels which simultaneously measures the acoustic, electrical, magnetic, pressure and seismic influences. Since this is a portable station, it can be used in any scenario and with multiple objectives: for obtaining the vessel’s signature in a real scenario, used on a fixed station, as a discreet way of obtaining intelligence in strategic areas, routine signature checks or prior to a mission.

MINEA, the exercise naval mines manufactured by SAES, are used to measure the real detectability of naval platforms at sea. It is a modern system with high capacity for detection and multi-influence signature signal processing.

SAES collaboration with the Saudi industry

SAES has contributed in the Navantia (Spain) and Saudi Arabia corvette programme by developing the NAVANTIS CIC combat system and the simulation software for the towed array sonar. SAES is currently giving training to the Saudi crew in sonars, general acoustics, and sound propagation.

During WDS 2022, SAES has also met representatives of the Saudi industry to start a collaboration on the development of antisubmarine solutions in Saudi Arabia.

SAES also was invited to the reception event hosted by the Spanish Embassador to Saudi Arabia, Jorge Hevia Sierra, to the Spanish companies participating in the World Defense Show.

Special mention among the authorities who attended the event shouold be made of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ms. Reyes Maroto; the Secretary of State for Defence, Ms. Esperanza Casteleiro; and Admiral Mr. Aniceto Rosique (Directorate-General of Arms and Materiel). They all enjoyed a pleasant meeting with all representatives of the Spanish Defence industry.

SAES progress towards a cyber secure environment in both its digital infrastructure and its products

Following the collaboration agreement on cybersecurity with the University of Murcia, SAES continues with the set of activities planned with the objective of improving information security. The first activity has been a webinar to SAES employees about how and why is important to be protected from cyber attacks not just at work but also at home.

Cybercrime (as a criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device) has become the most profitable illicit business in the world, ranking even above drug trafficking. If we bear in mind that nowadays hackers are more and more professionalised, that cybercrime is a constant threat and that almost everything can be hacked, it is a must to know all threats that we face an how to be protected against them.

Following the collaboration agreement on cybersecurity with the University of Murcia (UMU), an action plan has been developed with specific measures for SAES, with the objective of improving the information security in the company.

Cybercrime is a constant threat. SAES is moving towards a cyber-secure environment for its digital infrastructure and products.

On 26th November took place the first webinar in a series of online talks to all SAES employees, in terms of cyber security awareness raising. The talk given by University of Murcia experts was titled ‘Do I really need to have basic knowledge about cybercrime to do my job at SAES?’.

The main objectives in this first session were, on the one hand, to raise awareness of what cybercrime means and how can affect us at professional and personal levels. On the other hand, to advise and provide tools to protect us from hackers in our daily life. Cyber attacks usually seek to obtain sensitive information (banking dara, passwords, confidential information from your company, etc.)

According to UMU experts, hackers always look for the weakest link and take advantage of our lack of awareness and knowledge on cybercrime in order to focus their attacks on that and search for new ways of accessing our devices. For instance, it is possible to hack internet-connected devices such as a food processor or a vacuum cleaner and then reach the rest of devices with more sensitive data such as passwords or banking information.

The only way to protect us from such attacks is by raising awareness and ensuring that all recommendations on confidentiality, integrity and availability are implemented. Specific advice was given during the webinar to avoid phishing, to use safe passwords, to protect us from an identity theft or to safely use devices or online platforms.

SAES strategic plan provides for improving both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cybercrime capabilities in SAES products and its digital infrastructure to enhance the competitiveness of the company. Therefore, SAES has recently signed two collaboration agreements on these subjects with the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (on AI) and the University of Murcia (on cybercrime).

The Master Plan for Information Security developed by SAES includes specific actions not just in terms of technology systems but also for training employees and raising both awareness and knowledge. One of the key elements to maintain the safety of information is to target the human factor: most of the online attacks seek to mislead people, a lot more than to reach vulnerable systems.

Within the framework of the collaboration agreement on cybersecurity mentioned above, SAES will continue to research innovative solutions to strengthen the company’s products so that cyber security also becomes a competitive advantage.