Airbus Military, Cassidian Demo CN235 with FITS, UAS
Systems developed by EADS sister companies Airbus Military and Cassidian have played key roles in the first large-scale demonstration of technologies to address the growing crisis of economic migration and smuggling on Europe’s maritime borders.
The two companies, which will soon join forces with Astrium in the restructured Airbus Defence & Space, demonstrated an Airbus Military CN235 aircraft equipped with the FITS Fully Integrated Tactical System, and a Cassidian Atlante Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).
Flying over the Mediterranean Sea, the CN235 of Spain’s Guardia Civil detected and tracked simulated and real suspicious boats and passed the resulting imagery and data in real-time to onshore mission controllers to decide on action.
And operating from Almeria airport in South East Spain - the first time that a UAS has been flown from a civil airport in Europe - the Atlante showed how unmanned aerial systems can be integrated into a combined surveillance operation by passing simulated data and imagery to ground controllers. Atlante's unique capability to operate in civil airspace and its operational flexibility, make it the first tactical UAS that is capable of performing both military and civil missions also during night-time conditions.
Integrated with information gathered by other assets and shared by multiple nations, the results of the operation help pave the way for a multi-national system to address the human misery and social costs of illegal migration and criminal maritime activity.
The four-year Perseus program is Europe’s flagship maritime border control program, with a EUR 43.7 million budget under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program.
In addition to providing Atlante, Cassidian is responsible for the technical coordination of the entire Perseus project, ensuring delivery of an integrated and verified, interoperable system-of-systems for the Perseus exercises and demonstrations.
For the demonstrations in late September, Airbus Military upgraded the FITS equipment on a Guardia Civil CN235 with an enhanced satellite communication system compatible with Inmarsat’s Swift Broadband; a new Airbus Military high-speed datalink; and a secure version of the maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS). Those functionalities complemented the aircraft’s standard detection and analysis equipment.
Acting on intelligence gathered by the Guardia Civil, and alerted by the Perseus Mission Support Centre, the aircraft and its crew were able to intercept a small vessel simulating a suspicious boat heading towards the Spanish coast from Morocco, as was planned in the exercise.
Bernhard Gerwert, CEO-designate of the new Airbus Defence and Space said: “We are extremely pleased with the technical and operational performance of the CN235, FITS and Atlante which helped ensure the success of this first large scale Perseus demonstration. We look forward to contributing further to the fight against organized crime at sea and to finding solutions to the challenges posed by economic migration.”