Thales enhances its maritime border surveillance offer

07 Feb­ru­ary 2012

Thales has rein­forced its coastal and mar­itime bor­der sur­veil­lance offer thanks to the FULMAR mar­itime sur­veil­lance and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion UAV sys­tem from the Span­ish firm Aero­visión.

This new solu­tion, with its com­pre­hen­sive inte­gra­tion of sen­sors, C2 (Com­mand & Con­trol) sys­tem and secure com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works, rein­forces the oper­a­tional effi­cien­cy of the coast­guard and cus­toms ser­vices.

Bor­der sur­veil­lance and con­trol are essen­tial for guar­an­tee­ing the home­land secu­ri­ty of a nation. Faced with increas­ing risks and threats (ille­gal immi­gra­tion, drug traf­fick­ing, ter­ror­ist threats, etc.), gov­ern­ments demand high­er lev­els of secu­ri­ty for their nation­al bor­ders. It is there­fore vital that the secu­ri­ty ser­vices are able to col­lect all the infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary to make the right deci­sions, in order to coor­di­nate actions as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble while opti­mis­ing the resources.

To meet these new chal­lenges, Thales has bol­stered its mar­itime sur­veil­lance sys­tems offer with the addi­tion of inno­v­a­tive sur­veil­lance and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion capac­i­ties, through the inte­gra­tion of the FULMAR long last­ing medi­um-range UAV, a 100% Euro­pean plat­form with a unique capa­bil­i­ty of land­ing at sea. Joint­ly devel­oped in Spain by the teams of Thales and Aero­visión, the Thales solu­tion con­sid­er­ably improves the oper­a­tional capac­i­ties of the coast­guards by enabling rapid and easy detec­tion of new threats.

In this way, Thales is able to pro­pose a com­plete and mod­u­lar solu­tion for coastal sur­veil­lance and inter­ven­tion, built around a C2 sys­tem and incor­po­rat­ing mul­ti­ple coastal sen­sor data (radar, elec­tro-opti­cal, sonar, Auto­mat­ic Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Ship — AIS etc.), mobile sur­veil­lance, com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works and mobile equip­ment with inter­ven­tion capa­bil­i­ties (UAVs, patrol / inter­cep­tion craft, vehi­cles, etc.).

A UAV for greater reac­tiv­i­ty

The infor­ma­tion col­lect­ed using sen­sors is not gen­er­al­ly suf­fi­cient for recog­nis­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing in time the tracks of inter­ests or the threats. More­over, the tra­di­tion­al mobile sur­veil­lance resources (ships, heli­copters, air­craft, etc.) are not always fit for the task since it takes time to scram­ble them, and at a sig­nif­i­cant cost in terms of resources.

The FULMAR UAV is more reac­tive, more effi­cient and has a very attrac­tive oper­at­ing cost. As soon as the coastal sen­sors have locat­ed poten­tial threats or uniden­ti­fied ele­ments, it takes just a few min­utes to task the UAV from the C2 and send it to the zone in ques­tion in order to remove doubt or con­firm the threat. This allows the sur­veil­lance sys­tem oper­a­tors to clas­si­fy and iden­ti­fy the ele­ments that have been over­flown and to respond with the most appro­pri­ate means of action.

This kind of solu­tion offers invalu­able oper­a­tional sup­port dur­ing sur­veil­lance, res­cue and inter­ven­tion oper­a­tions.

FRONTEX: Thales demon­strates the effi­cien­cy of its solu­tion in a real-life sit­u­a­tion

On 19 Octo­ber 2011, the inte­gra­tion of the FULMAR UAV as part of the Thales coastal sur­veil­lance sys­tem was test­ed for the first time in a flight demon­stra­tion organ­ised by FRONTEX, the Euro­pean bor­ders sur­veil­lance agency, on the Aktio air­base in Greece. This inte­gra­tion sys­tem is a result of a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Thales and Aero­visión as part of the Euro­pean Research and Devel­op­ment project WIMAAS.

The FULMAR UAV is cur­rent­ly oper­a­tional in South Asia, where it is ful­fill­ing coastal sur­veil­lance mis­sions.