News Column

Maritime surveillance: DCNS begins a new campaign of experiments off the coast near Toulon

June 27, 2014

ENP Newswire - 27 June 2014

Release date- 26062014 - From 26 June to 1 July 2014, the second and last I2C(1) campaign coordinated by DCNS and its partners(2) is taking place in the Bay of Toulon.

This innovating maritime security and surveillance project, supported by the European Union, is entering its last phase of testing before the conclusion of the programme.

The I2C programme, which started in October 2010 for a duration of 4 years with European Union support, is an innovative system designed and developed by DCNS and its partners. With this second and last campaign, conducted under real conditions, the consortium is going to be able to carry out an end-to-end assessment of this decision-making aid system, with more substantial resources. The results will be presented to the European Commission in Brussels on 11 September 2014.

I2C detects and identifies in real time illegal and criminal activities conducted at sea. The system analyses vessel trajectories and activities dynamically, interrogates databases and automatically raises alerts according to established rules in consultation with the operational authorities.

To accomplish its tasks, the system uses high-performance algorithmic software to correlate and exploit all the information acquired from multiple sources such as coastal radars, aircraft and ships (via AIS(3)), and observation satellites. For each alert, it provides precise hypotheses concerning the nature of the illegal activity.

Furthermore, the operators can themselves define the 'detection rules' settings to detect specific types of situation.

This means that it is a powerful decision-making aid for operational personnel, who have reliable information for deciding and planning any necessary actions.

End-to-end experimentation with more substantial resources

This second campaign of experimentation, coordinated by DCNS, aims to evaluate the ship surveillance performance of the I2C system in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from the coastline. The system must be capable of continuous monitoring of the activities of almost 50,000 vessels of all sizes, in all weather conditions.

This last campaign is mobilising substantial resources: Zeppelin dirigible, maritime patrol aircraft, coastal surveillance ship and stations. These resources have been boosted compared with the previous campaign, with greater integration in the dirigible of the Rockwell Collins France FMCW (Frequency Modulation Continuous Waveform) radar and the ONERA HFSW (High Frequency Surface Waveform) radar. The FMWC radar is capable of detecting very small boats (less than 6 metres long), while the HFSW radar can detect ships at up to 400 kilometres from the coastline. To improve the exhaustiveness of the situation picture generated by I2C, the system processes satellite images as well as data acquired from AIS receivers on satellites. These data will be supplied in near- real time.

Integrating all the system components this year, the campaign is going to enable end-to-end assessment of the I2C system, from ship detection through analysis of the alerts triggered in the system, according to selected rules with user-defined settings, to automated transmittal of reports to the authorities. The operational users (the Maritime Gendarmerie and CROSS Me'diterrane'e [French maritime rescue coordination centre]) are heavily involved: they contribute to the preparation of scenarios and will operate the I2C system in order to interpret the situation during the exercises.

I2C is intended to supplement existing national surveillance systems by continuous correlation of many other streams of maritime information originating from multiple sources such as weather and sea-state forecasts, ship identities and histories, geographical data, port movements, intelligence, data from satellites, information on ship detentions and accidents, etc.

This project is supported by the European Union as part of the research programme of the maritime component of EUROSUR (EUROpean SURveillance). It aims to develop a common (multinational and interoperable) border surveillance system.

The concluding conference of the I2C project will take place in Brussels on 11 September 2014.

1. I2C is pronounced 'Eye to see' and stands for 'Integrated System for Interoperable sensors & Information sources for Common abnormal vessel behaviour detection & Collaborative identification of threat', an eye turned towards the sea.

2. I2C partners: DCNS, European Union, Po^le-Mer PACA, Rockwell Collins, IRIT, Kongsberg, Sofresud, JRC (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission), Intuilab, Clear Priority, Armines, Airship Vision, Meteosim, Astra, Ajeco, Onera, Zeppelin, Eric Van Hoodonik Advocaten and Ecomer.

3. AIS: Automatic Identification System (mandatory aboard commercial vessels)

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Source: ENP Newswire

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