The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has concluded training on its new Tekever AR3 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have been acquired for its Deep Blue maritime security project.
Director-General/CEO of NIMASA Bashir Jamoh last month said the four unmanned aerial vehicles will ensure that NIMASA has a sustainable round-the-clock surveillance system from the sky, “furnishing real-time information for timely action to keep our waters safe for shipping and seafarers.”
The AR3 Net Ray UAVs were delivered in December 2020, with training subsequently carried out by foreign specialists.
The AR3 is manufactured by Portugal’s Tekever, which says the UAV is designed to support multiple types of maritime and land-based missions, including ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance), pollution monitoring, infrastructure surveillance and communications support operations.
The AR3 has an endurance of more than 16 hours and can be launched from ships using a catapult. Cruising speed of the 3.5 metre wingspan UAV is 85 km/h and maximum speed 140 km/h. It is powered by a petrol engine. Payload is up to 4 kg and options include electro-optical and infrared sensors as well as laser illuminators and communications relay systems.
NIMASA has taken delivery of a raft of new equipment ahead of the official launch of the Deep Blue project on 10 June. This includes Cessna Citation CJ3 maritime surveillance aircraft, AW109 helicopters, Special Mission Vessels and Fast Interceptor Boats.
Early in May, Jamoh announced that Special Forces have finished their training and are ready to go. “They represent the crucial human element of the entire architecture given their expected interdictory role of tackling piracy and protecting our seafarers.”