Airbus Defence and Space announced on Monday that it had been granted a 12-month contract extension by the UK Royal Navy for satellite-based maritime surveillance services. This contract extension follows the conclusion of a successful proof-of-concept phase. The services will be supplied to the UK government’s Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC).
As a result of the new agreement, areas of interest in British waters will continue to be monitored, with the ultimate aim of guarding UK sovereign waters from suspicious vessels and their activities. Airbus will provide the JMSC with reports about vessels in Britain’s exclusive economic zone, compiled with data from satellite-based optical and radar sensors as well as from ship-mounted automatic identification systems.
“The contract includes Vessel Detection Reports using [synthetic aperture radar] data analysis, either delivered in emergency mode for urgently required satellite tasking to monitor suspicious vessels of interest across the globe, or on a twice daily basis for general vessel identification as well as the classification of ‘dark’ vessels in key areas of interest,” reported the company. “In addition, the Defence Site Monitoring service, using automated algorithms applied to optical imagery, for the detection, recognition and identification of vessels will detail the evolution of port activity and raise alerts whenever abnormal activity occurs.”
The JMSC is Britain’s maritime security centre of excellence. Its contract with Airbus will provide the Centre with a series of intelligence services which complement its own surveillance activities.
The company will support the JMSC with a wide range of surveillance and analytics capabilities. This will give the Centre an increased comprehension of activities in British waters, particularly focused on “uncooperative” vessels. In turn, this will allow better responses to security challenges, the more rapid allocation and deployment of interception forces and the more effective prevention of potentially illegal activities.