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2 septembre 2014 2 02 /09 /septembre /2014 16:50
BAE's Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

BAE's Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.


07/21/2014 Andrew Elwell


As more scrutiny is placed on military and civil maritime reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities – with the search for MH370 particularly highlighting the difficulty in delivering effective wide area maritime surveillance – nations are evaluating their current operations and asking how they can deliver enhanced maritime domain awareness.


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8 mars 2014 6 08 /03 /mars /2014 12:45
Options for new SAAF maritime surveillance platforms



07 March 2014 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb


With approval, in principle at present from the National Treasury, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s unhappiness about “her people” flying in aircraft more than 60 years old seems set to end, if only in a few years.


During his national budget speech last month Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan approved the acquisition of new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) in the 2015/16 fiscal term for the South African Air Force (SAAF).


The new aircraft, the number of which was not stipulated by Gordhan, will replace 35 Squadron’s C-47TPs, now well over 60 years old and the mainstay of the SAAF’s maritime patrol and surveillance capability.


Mapisa-Nqakula specifically mentioned the age of aircraft in the wake of the C-47TP crash in the Drakensberg in December 2012 which left 11 dead.


With the door now open for MSAs, two of the potential suppliers have both stressed the importance of acquisitions that can fulfil multiple missions rather than be dedicated to the single tasking of maritime surveillance.


Taking an extract from the draft Defence Review, hopefully still to be tabled during the current session of Parliament, Lockheed Martin points to the importance of airborne maritime surveillance. The Review states: “as a trading nation, with over 95% of our trade being reliant on maritime trade routes, the security of South Africa and its people is crucially dependant on the ability to trade, grow the economy, reduce poverty and provide meaningful work for South Africa’s people” and, in reference to the threat of piracy, “protection of the trade routes for merchant shipping is of vital national interest to the nation. No less than 75% of South Africa’s oil imports on which the economy depends arrives by sea from the Middle East.”


The United States aerospace and defence company’s relationship with the SAAF goes back more than 50 years, having delivered C-130 Hercules to the SAAF half a century ago. C-130BZs in service with 28 Squadron are still the SAAF’s major airlift and transport aircraft. However, with these nearing the end of their serviceable lives, Lockheed Martin maintains the new generation C-130J Super Hercules is the right replacement.


Apart from being able to do what the current SAAF BZ fleet does more efficiently, the J models are also multi-mission. This means configurations can be changed to suit specific taskings, ranging from transport of troops and equipment through to medevac, VIP transport, firefighting and maritime surveillance and patrol as well as search and rescue, an important tasking given South Africa’s responsibilities in terms of its massive economic exclusion zone.


In similar vein the C295 from the Airbus Defence and Space stable is also a true multi-mission aircraft. It offers transport in all its variants; maritime surveillance, unarmed with the option of either palletised or permanently installed mission systems; maritime patrol, armed and also with either palletised or permanently fitted mission systems as well as oil spill response and protection.


With no real prospect of growth in the defence budget, the SAAF would be getting “more bang for its buck” if aircraft acquisitions are of the multi-mission type. This would cut down on the number of platforms to be purchased and allow more different mission taskings.


These are only two of the possibilities SAAF acquisitions personnel will be investigating - many other manufacturers have also expressed interest in Project Saucepan, including RUAG, Saab, L-3, ATR and HAL. Another possibility comes from a suggestion made by retired lieutenant general Carlo Gagiano, when he headed up the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).


He proposed acquiring a number of smaller twin-engined aircraft, in the King Air size, to be fitted with the requisite equipment and operated by SAAF Reserve Force pilots from airports along the country’s coastline. Given that current SAAF chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang, has stated the revitalisation of the SAAF Reserve is one of his priorities, this could well add another arrow to the quiver that is maritime surveillance.


Reserve Force pilots based at say, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town, could utilise these SAAF assets, freeing up whatever other platforms are acquired for other duties.


All told, military aviation watchers maintain there are options aplenty available to the SAAF acquisitions personnel to beef up maritime surveillance and keep the seas off the country safe, essential given that South Africa is very much a maritime trading country.

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18 novembre 2013 1 18 /11 /novembre /2013 13:30
Dubai Airshow : Bombardier se tourne vers la surveillance maritime


18.11.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Boeing a annoncé lors du salon aéronautique de Dubai avoir sélectionné le jet d’affaires Challenger 605 de Bombardier comme plateforme pour effectuer des missions de surveillance maritime, dans le cadre de son programme MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft).


La plateforme est basée sur les systèmes de mission et les technologies utilisés à bord du P-8A Poseidon (737 modifié). La structure et les systèmes seront modifiés par Field Aviation, qui travaille actuellement sur un Challenger 604 qui devrait servir de démonstrateur dès 2014.


Le programme MSA de Boeing devrait permettre aux avions d’effectuer des missions de lutte anti-piraterie, de surveillance côtière et frontalière ainsi que des missions de recherche et de sauvetage.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Spain Tests Future European Maritime Surveillance System

Sept. 25, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Indra; issued Sept. 24, 2013)


Indra Coordinates, In Collaboration with the Civil Guard, the First Tests of the Future European System for Maritime Surveillance


This past Tuesday, 24 September, Indra worked with the Civil Guard to launch the first test at sea of the Perseus (Protection of European BoRders and Seas through the IntElligent Use of Surveillance) R&D project. This initiative is led by the technological multinational and is aimed at developing new maritime surveillance capabilities for all of Europe.


The goal is to develop and test a system that allows interconnecting the various maritime surveillance infrastructures that already exist in Europe and to incorporate the most innovative technologies.


Perseus is one of the most significant initiatives that have been launched by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework R&D Programme, and it is also the EU's flagship of security at sea. The project began in 2011 and has a four-year duration.



The exercise carried out today marks the start of the week-long tests that will take place in the Strait of Gibraltar, specifically in the Alboran Sea. Tuesday's test included detecting a vessel that departed from Melilla and simulated transporting immigrants illegally.


The operation for the vessel's detection, monitoring and subsequent detention was led and coordinated from the national coordination centre of the Civil Guard's Administrative Offices located in Madrid.


To do so, a CN-235 Civil Guard plane carried out an open water surveillance mission. The necessary orders were sent from the control centre, and the information was received in real time by the aircraft. The plane detected and identified the target and proceeded to monitor it.


The responsibility of the mission was then transferred to the MRI P2006T maritime surveillance light plane, and low cost solution developed by Indra. Equipped with radar, opto-electronic day/night vision, and AIS vessel identification systems, it operated between 20 and 45 nautical miles from the coast.


Once the vessel neared the coast, the SIVE El Sabinar station, located in Almeria, took over the monitoring tasks. Afterwards, the Rio Miño intervention vessel carried out an interception mission with support from Indra's MRI P2006T maritime surveillance plane.


This exercise tests the integration of a number of maritime surveillance technologies. Combining the information gathered by the SIVE and the sensors installed on various air and sea platforms makes it possible to control areas at high sea that cannot be reached by coastal surveillance systems. It also facilitates the detection of smaller vessels, intensifying the control of illegal human and drug trafficking, while improving rescue capabilities.


In addition, the information gathered by the Civil Guard's control centre in Madrid was shared with the Perseus system's nodes located in France, Italy and Portugal. The objective is for all the countries to have a complete vision of the routes and activities of vessels at sea.


A demanding test calendar


Through two large-scale validation campaigns, Perseus will demonstrate its viability and propose the standards for building the EU's future maritime surveillance system.


The first campaign will take place in the western area of the Mediterranean Sea. Following the first exercises that began today in the Alboran Sea, the second series of tests will take place near the Canary Islands and the African coast. The third series will include exercises that cover an area from southern Portugal to the south of France and Italy. This will show the system's effectiveness in different maritime and coastal environments, as well as its ability to coordinate operations involving multiple countries.


Lastly, the second campaign has been scheduled for 2014. It will take place in the Aegean Sea and in the channel of Samos Island, with the possibility of expanding to the Black Sea.


Indra is the European leader of coastal surveillance and more than 5,000 km of borders are protected by its systems. Directing Perseus strengthens its position as one of the top companies in the field of land and maritime surveillance, protection and border control systems in the world. The company has already implemented its systems in numerous countries, including Spain, Portugal, Romania, Latvia and Hong Kong.



Indra is the number one multinational consultancy and technology firm in Spain and a leader in Europe and Latin America. Innovation is the cornerstone of its business and sustainability. The company has allocated more than €550 million to R&D&i in the last three years, making it one of the top companies in Europe in its sector in terms of investment. With sales approaching €3,000 million, nearly 60% of its income is from the international market. The company employs 42,000 professionals and has customers in 128 countries.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Radarsat Constellation Mission - source Canadian Space Agency

Radarsat Constellation Mission - source Canadian Space Agency

OTTAWA, Sept. 11 (UPI)


Canada is going ahead with plans to keep closer tabs on arctic shipping amid competing claims on the region, especially those from Russia and northern European states.


Plans to build and put in orbit a constellation of monitoring satellites mean Canada is set to spend millions on a maritime surveillance program that will include additional tasks of maintaining control on resource development in the arctic region.


Canada has actively pursued defense and security programs to assert its claim on the region after incidents involving Russian navy vessels which Canada considered to be too uncomfortable for Canadian defense interests.


Diplomatic exchanges on arctic naval incidents so far have been couched in political language. In Ottawa, however, officials are in no doubt they want to assert Canadian national authority on the northern territories before Russia or other European countries attempt another challenge.


It will be another five years before a Canadian satellite surveillance program focused on arctic maritime traffic comes into play.


In January Ottawa confirmed it would go ahead with Radarsat Constellation Mission which will see the launch of at least three satellites by 2018.


Before the satellites are launched, however, Canada will need to build capacity for receiving and processing vast amounts of information that the space-based intelligence-gathering operation will produce.


All three satellites will be designed to gather radar-imaging data. At present Canada operates a single radar-imaging satellite, Radarsat-2, which provides maritime surveillance data, Defense News reported.


"One satellite can give you a spotty picture of what's going on," Royal Canadian Air Force Col. Andre Dupuis, the Department of National Defense's director of space requirements, said. "Three satellites will give us a complete picture every single day of every ship in our area of responsibility, all the way out to about 2,000 nautical miles."


A $691 million program involving domestic satellite construction, launch and maintenance is already in place. Improvements to ground stations are also planned but a specific allocation for the base installations wasn't discussed.


MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of Richmond, B.C. said it was invited to build, launch and initially operate the RCM.


Canada's Department of National Defense is also funding an Automatic Identification System package for installation on the Radarsat Constellation Mission. For navigational safety, the International Maritime Organization requires ships larger than 300 tons to carry an AIS beacon, which allows other ships or land-based receivers to track a vessel's identity, speed and course.


The Department of National Defense is funding the AIS sensor design and its integration into RCM, currently estimated at $55 million.


Earlier this month, Magellan Aerospace Corp. announced the award of a $110 million MDA contract for the RCM satellite bus manufacture. The RCM is comprised of three low earth orbit spacecraft, each carrying a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar payload.


"RCM is one of the largest space projects that has been undertaken by Canada to date, and Magellan is proud to be a Tier One subcontractor on the mission," said James Butyniec, president and chief executive officer of Magellan Aerospace.


"Canada is one of the world's first space-faring nations and national programs like RCM are critical for keeping our domestic space technology capabilities relevant as well as providing benefits for Canadians," Butyniec said.


RCM is a Canadian Space Agency mission that will provide twenty-four-hour-a-day C-Band data to augment and extend the data that RADARSAT-2 users currently rely on. The mission will support maritime surveillance -- ship detection, ice monitoring and oil spill detection -- disaster management and ecosystem monitoring.


The primary areas of coverage are Canada and its surrounding arctic, Pacific and Atlantic maritime areas. The launch is planned in 2018.


Magellan Aerospace will manufacture the three spacecraft buses, including the control systems, on-board computers, power generation and distribution systems, electronics, wiring, and on-board communication links with the ground.

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16 mai 2011 1 16 /05 /mai /2011 17:30



May 16, 2011 By Leon Engelbrecht, defenceWEB Editor – defpro.com


Project Saucepan, the South African Air Force's programme to replace its 68-year-old Douglas C47 Dakota aircraft in the maritime surveillance role has been “pulled to the left”. SAAF chief Lieutenant Carlo Gagiano says the project, now at staff target phase, is both “urgent and important”.


The air boss was speaking to journalists at the SAAF's annual air capability demonstration at the Roodewal bomb range in Limpopo yesterday. He would not be drawn on budget, numbers or platforms, but did not vigorously deny a figure of four. Asked about the size of the preferred platform, he said he had his own views. Pressed whether it would be something the size of an Airbus Military CASA 235, Gagiano chuckled and said he was looking at “something smaller, actually,” in the class of the Beechcraft King Air 350, used by several air forces. The SAAF also operates two King Air 200s and one King Air 300 in the light tranport role. Some 3550 King Air's have been built since 1972. The wikipedia puts it cost at between US$5.24-7.57 million each in 2009 base prices.


Speaking about Operation Hopper, the South African National Defence Force's maritime security operation off the northern Mozambique coast, Gagiano said the burning need was for airborne sensors. “We have a gap there we have fill very quickly,” the general said. This is why Saucepan is “so important” and “will make such a big difference”.


“There is no doubt about it. These aircraft will give us a massive boost and will make a major difference to our operational capabilities. Not only will they be used in anti-piracy roles, but also to combat poaching and the detection of war threats. Because of outdated maritime surveillance equipment, this project is an urgent priority,” he said.


Gagiano continued that he would like to see the aircraft permanently based along the coast – with appropriate resources an perhaps also crewed by the SAAF Reserve Force. Richards Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town were named in that connection.


The SAAF received its first C47s in 1943 and they were employed as transport in the Italian campaign of World War Two as well as for ferry duties in the Mediterranean theatre. After the war, the aircraft were deployed to support the Berlin Air Lift. Between June 1948 and May 1949 some 1.5 million tons of cargo was carried into the blockaded city aboard some 200 000 flights.


In the early 1990s about 11 were modernised with, inter alia turboprops replacing the piston engines. The aircraft remain in service with 35 Squadron, based in Cape Town, with medium transport as well as maritime patrol duties. In the latter role it replaced the Avro Shackleton MR3, the last purpose-designed MPA, in SAAF inventory from November 1984.


Brigadier General Tsoku Khumalo, the SAAF's director transport and maritime told the defenceWeb maritime security conference in Cape Town in October 2009 that the SAAF has a requirement for five specialised Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and eight cheaper general-purpose Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA). At the tie he said the new aircraft would have to be cost effective, sustainable, appropriate and offer a growth path. It will need to be capable of inshore, coastal and deep-sea exclusive economic zone patrol as well as search-and-rescue (SAR) work. To support naval operations they will also require an ability to engage in antisubmarine and surface warfare.


The new aircraft would require the ability detect, track, classify and identify surface targets and in wartime to engage the same with onboard weapons, he added. Khumalo noted the SAAF realistically required 12 to 14 MPAs but these were very costly and the budget needed likely prohibitive. Other having a maritime role the aircraft also needed to have a transport function and would also replace the C47, CASA C212 and C235 aircraft; Khumalo being keen to reduce the number of platform types in use in the SAAF transport environment.


While at pains to avoid mentioning manufacturers or aircraft models for fear of creating perceptions, Khumalo did acknowledge that to have the range for maritime operations – the SA search-and-rescue region is some 17.2 million square kilometres in size – and to have a useful cargo capacity the aircraft would have to be of the size and capability of the Casa 295. However, extreme long range SAR operations over the sea would remain the task of the Lockheed Martin C130BZ Hercules.


It is not yet clear how the new developments affect the plan put forward by Khumalo.

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