Engineers at BAE Systems, the Anglo American defence multinational, have developed a sophisticated electronic early warning system aimed at combating soaring levels of piracy on the high seas.
The company is working in partnership with major ship owners to assess commercial requirements in order to create the most effective solution to this increasing threat to maritime security.
As a result, the team at BAE Systems has used its expertise in the defence, security and aerospace sectors to develop a suite of technology that enables a crew to detect a ship and identify suspicious activity at distances of up to 25km, long before pirate vessels become a threat, the company says in a news release.
The early warning system gives the crew the vital time needed to take evasive action or alert navies to the danger.
Nick Stoppard, BAE Systems Director of Solutions Development says piracy is on the rise. “Attacks in 2008 were double those of the previous year and there is a clear need for better methods to help commercial ships identify and evade pirates before an attack occurs.
“We have used our expertise in security engineering, technical analysis, systems design and integration to develop a layered defence system to improve the safety and security of ships and their crew.
“This technology is just one aspect of work that we are undertaking across BAE Systems to address emerging global security issues.”
The system draws on a range of current capabilities developed by BAE Systems and includes:
· High Frequency Surface Wave Radar to detect small boats well beyond the horizon at up to 25km
· Panoramic Area Surveillance System 360o video camera and display system to provide visual identification. It includes movement detection and threat level alarms, with plans to incorporate infra-red
· Passive Radar Identification System (PRISM) to provide early warning of an unidentified radar carrying vessel, and
· Improved lighting to increase the likelihood of detecting intruders within the immediate vicinity of the ship at night and act as a deterrent.
BAE Systems says it is currently undertaking a feasibility study into the use of this technology with ship owners and specialists from security organisations.
“Technology and capability sea trials in partnership with ship owners are expected to take place within the first three months of next year.”
Pic: BAE Systems counter- piracy tech programme