EMSA has secured four contracts for maritime surveillance services based on remotely piloted aircraft systems. These contracts aims to improve maritime surveillance capabilities to European agencies and member states.
Namely, according to EMSA the contracts concerning the remotely piloted aircraft systems were signed because of the increased demand.
Firstly, EMSA signed a contract with CEIIA-Centro de Engenharia e Desenvolvimento on 27 September for long range-long endurance maritime surveillance. CEIIA will provide services similar to those of the Hermes 900 RPAS subcontracted from Elbit. As a result, the RPAS has high-tech features, such as operational flight duration that can last more than 12 hours and payload configuration. What's more, it acquires optical and infrared cameras, a multi-mode maritime radar, AIS and distress signal receiver, which provides it with long range detection, recognition, and identification capabilities. In addition, the RPAS is equipped with satellite communications enabling the surveillance of large maritime areas beyond radio line of sight.
Moreover, EMSA signed a contract with Schiebel Aircraft GmbH on 19 November concerning vertical, take-off and landing aircraft. The Camcopter S-100 RPAS can be run directly from vessels, extending its range of surveillance. This model has the ability to take off and land vertically from both ashore and offshore vessels. What's more the VTOL RPAS has more than six hours operational flight time and carries a payload with optical and infrared cameras, an optical scanner, AIS receiver, and has a maximum range of 100km.
Also, EMSA signed a contract on 2 November for emissions monitoring in collaboration with Nordic Unmanned AS, UMS Skeldar Sweden AB and Norut Noterhn Research Institute AS. This partnership is based on the VTOL RPAS, Skeldar V-200 and focuses on monitoring emissions and multi-purpose services. This model has a sensor that monitors sulphur emissions and is capable of take off and vertical landing. What's more, it has more than 4 hours operational flight time and a variety of more than 50km. The Skeldar V-200 also carries a payload of optical and infrared
In order to support surveillance operations EMSA signed a contract for lightweight quadcopters from Nordic Unmanned AS on 9 November. These services will be based on more than 10 INDAGO2 quadcopters from Lockheed Martin. The first models are to be installed on EMSA's standby pollution response vessels that are responsible for oil spill recovery operations. In the future, they may also be activated for surveillance operations from any patrol vessel.
As Markku Mylly, EMSA’s Executive Director, stated these contracts strengthen EMSA's maritime surveillance abilities and EMSA is able to support national authorities execute coast guard functions, such as maritime pollution, emissions monitoring, search and rescue operations. Also, EMSA is capable of helping European agencies in matters of illegal fishing detection, anti-drug trafficking and border surveillance.