MDA–Offshore Persistent Monitoring

Think defense reports on some new technology the Coast Guard is already involved in, that might become useful for Maritime Domain Awareness. The Navy has also been interested in this since it could clearly support acoustic as well as radar and electro-optic sensors. A capability to deploy a portable version of this, around critical areas during wartime, might be a future wartime mission for our buoy tenders.

Canada uses Radar Satellites for Maritime Domain Awareness

Defense news reports on Canada’s intention to use a constellation of three radar satellites to monitor marine traffic,

Royal Canadian Air Force Col. Andre Dupuis, the Department of National Defence’s director of space requirements. “Three satellites will give us a complete picture every single day of every ship in our area of responsibility, all the way out to about 2,000 nautical miles. ”

The RCM satellites’ synthetic aperture radar will be able to detect ships 25 meters in length or larger. The radar can conduct surveillance day or night and through heavy cloud cover.

Indian Coast Guard Continues Upgrades–Vessels and Maritime Domain Awarness

The Times of India reports the Indian Coast Guard is both continuing expansion of its chain of radar stations used to maintain Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and building new patrol vessels at a relatively high rate.

The central government has approved the setting up of 38 radar stations across the country in the second phase under Coastal Surveillance Network, said defence secretary R K Mathur, adding that the first phase of the network comprising 46 radar stations was expected to be completed by October.

India’s EEZ is less than a fifth that of the US, but since the terrorist attack on Mumbai, 26 November, 2008, which came by sea, they have been working steadily on upgrading the quality and size of their Coast Guard.


Maritime Domain Awarness by Satelite

Ship position reports received with the NORAIS Receiver during 24 hours, 29th June 2010. (FFI)

An interesting view of maritime traffic posted by Eaglespeak. Tackling the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) problem, it is apparent:

  • 1) You need computers to sort it out and identify the contacts you are interested in.
  • 2) You still have to have some way to pick up the contacts vessels that are not using Automatic Information System (AIS) transponders.

Could Maritime Domain Awareness Ride the Coattails of Missile Defense?

At least since 9/11, the Coast Guard has been talking about Maritime Domain Awareness–the ability to keep track of everything approaching our coasts. The effort has used the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which gives the position and identification of cooperating vessels, and also anticipates cooperation with the Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system which will use large land based unmanned aircraft, in addition to the Coast Guard’s own assets.

Concurrently the US has been developing a defense against ballistic missiles. (More info here on additional effort.) If they go to the trouble and expense of doing that, then they will almost certainly also develop a defense against cruise missiles as well, since it is relatively easy to launch cruise missiles against the US from nondescript container ships. The system that is likely to be used, the Army’s JLENS, has demonstrated a capability to track even small boats.

Sounds like the pieces of a comprehensive system that the Coast Guard may be able to exploit, may be coming together.

New Harbor Surveillance Technology

There has been a recent demonstration of a new harbor surveillance system that claims to pick up both surface and subsurface targets using fiber-optics. This has possible implications both for the Coast Guard’s own Maritime Domain Awareness program and for the Navy’s Mobile Inshore Underwater Warfare (MIUW) units that the Coast Guard frequently works with.

Wonder if it might also work as a tripwire to detect North bound drug subs?

European Maritime Domain Awareness

This from “Defense Industry Daily”:

“The European Defence Agency (EDA) and 15 European Union (EU) member states demonstrate a Maritime Surveillance network (MARSUR) that could support military operations and homeland security. Aimed at improving the Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP), MARSUR’s open design will allow member states to feed in and exchange data at their own discretion. The primary cost to member states will be the ability to plug into an interface costing $1.3 billion.”

Port Security Breakthough?

Saw a story about this done by a San Diego Television Station, CBS8, (See the video) on the Coast Guard’s “News and Blog Summary.”  If it works as advertised, it could be a huge step forward in port security and maritime domain awareness.  A network of buoys, linked together to a shore facility by Wi-Fi detects, locates, and provides imagery of vessels carrying explosives or radioactive material. To get more detail, I contacted, Intellicheck Mobilisa, the contractor that is developing the system.  I was able to ask a few questions of their vice president for Marketing, Kenna Pope.

The ability to simultaneously screen large numbers of containers implicit in this technology is also interesting.

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Indian CG Building Ships, Buying Helos, Domain Awareness

There has been a lot of news about the Indian Coast Guard lately. India is rapidly its Coast Guard, spurred on by the experience of the Mumbai attack.
FOR MARITIME PATROL: ‘Vijit', an Offshore Patrol Vessel developed by Goa Shipyard Ltd. for the Coast Guard, will be commissioned on Saturday.

Yesterday they commissioned the Vijit (OPV31), a 310 ft Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), 1,800 tons, with 30 mm cannon, helo deck and hanger, and a maximum speed of 26 knots. This is the second ship of a class of three. The first ship of the class, ICGS Vishwast (OPV 30) was entered service March 17.
Another, larger vessel, the Sumitra (seen below), 2,300 tons, 76 mm and two 30 mm, helo deck and hanger was launched Dec 6. She is the forth ship of her class.
There are indications the Indians will soon contract for another six OPVs. So currently the Indian Coast Guard has 18 Offshore Patrol Vessels, they have two under construction, and the apparent intent to add six more. The oldest entered service in December 1983. In addition they are building three 3,300 ton polloution  control vessels, and the Indian Navy has six ships specifically designed to patrol the EEZ that are half sisters of one of the Coast Guard classes.
The size of India’s patrol force compares favorably with our own. Conservatively assuming 20 ships, dividing India’s EEZ 2,305,143 sq km by 20 OPVs the ratio is 115, 257 sq km/OPV compared to the ratio for the US (12,174,629 sq km EEZ/43 OPVs) of 283,181 sq km/OPV.
They have also issued Requests for Information (RFI) as a step toward procurement of 16 six point five ton, max take off weight (MTOW) helicopters for shipboard use and 14 twelve ton MTOW helicopters for use from both shore and ships. “The RFIs require the (sic) both types of helicopters to have hard points for gun mounts that can take both 7.62mm and 12.7mm guns. It also wants the shore-based helicopters to be able to integrate 20/30mm cannons.”
They have also recently awarded a $16M contract to SAAB to supply a coastal surveillance system for the entire 7400-kilometer long Indian coast. Its not clear what they are getting for this, but it is part of a general improvement of their domain awareness and coordination between agencies.