The Royal Navy has awarded Airbus a contract extension to provide continued provision of satellite-based maritime surveillance services for the Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC).
The extended contract follows successful completion of a proof of concept phase, and will ensure the continued monitoring of areas of interest in UK waters and protect UK sovereign borders from suspicious vessel activity.
JMSC is the UK Government's centre of excellence for maritime security and Airbus' surveillance and analytic capabilities should enhance its ability to meet and mitigate maritime security threats.
Using optical and radar imaging, as well as AIS (Automatic Identification System) data, Airbus plans to provide reports about vessels within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone which will help prevent illegal activity.
The contract promises regular Vessel Detection Reports, either delivered in emergency mode for urgent tasks or twice daily for more routine vessel identification.
Additionally, the surveillance services offered will also be capable of tracking regular port activity and through employing automated algorithms be able to flag unusual port activity as it occurs.
Last month the Royal Navy's Puma drone, another surveillance asset, was said to have come on "leaps and bounds" during sorties supporting Royal Marines on amphibious operations in the North Sea and Baltic.
Flown by personnel from 700X Naval Air Squadron (NAS), the Navy's experimental drone development team, the drone carried out recces of potential night-time landing areas, feeding back vital information as the Royal Marines landed on coastlines.
The Puma's ability to support warships at sea is being developed quickly, and the 700X team will continue training and developing the tactics learned on the deployment, before assuming short-notice readiness to deploy worldwide.
Cover image: Alamy.