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.