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“NAIS is one of the largest national AIS-based coastal surveillance systems ever to be deployed”

Magnus Persson
Magnus Persson
VP Operations, Saab TransponderTech

<< Saab recently successfully implemented National Automatic Identification System (NAIS) network in India. In a tete`-a-tete´ with GeoIntelligence, Magnus Persson, VP Operations, Saab TransponderTech, talks about the critical role of geospatial intelligence in Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), and what Saab is doing in this direction… … >>

Q. How important, do you think, is the role of geospatial intelligence in surveillance today, especially, in maritime domain?
Geospatial intelligence is important in the maritime domain, since it is a reliable form of intelligence gathering. As it becomes easier to traverse borders, new challenges in the form of transnational threats, cross-border illicit trade and piracy, to name a few, have emerged. These sometimes go unnoticed, and at other times, it is too late. Constant physical/ manned surveillance of coasts is not possible, and requires a large investment in terms of manpower and resources. To neutralise threats, it is important that they are discovered before they become lethal. In this context, geospatial intelligence is critically important.

As more cost effective solutions and new technologies are developed and adopted, the importance of geospatial intelligence will increase. The maritime market has now become truly global and with technologies which connect the major ports and harbours in the world, a truly maritime geospatial solution can be designed.

Q. What kind of geospatial solutions do you provide in maritime sector?
Today, Saab TransponderTech delivers civil maritime traffic surveillance solutions. Sensor fusion with radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS) and camera solutions together with IHO S.63 charts forms a Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP). Different operations on RMP provides for monitoring, ship speed or course deviations and different types of behaviour detection. CoastWatch is a state-of-the-art surveillance system designed for accurate detection and fast response to suspicious behaviour, such as subversive activities, piracy, smuggling or illegal immigration. It also provides support for searchand- rescue operations, disasterrelief and environmental-protection operations.

Q. What solutions do you offer to India?
Saab TransponderTech offers an entire suite for AIS maritime picture with ambitions to expand this with radar and cameras, and possible other sensors, to form an even more detailed and sophisticated RMP for the coastal waters of India.

Q. You recently announced successful implementation of National Automatic Identification System (NAIS) network in India. Can you tell us about NAIS? What kind of challenges did you face in completing the project? How has been the response so far?
NAIS gives India an AIS maritime picture over the entire Indian coastline. Operators can observe and make decisions in realtime in the CoastWatch traffic management system. NAIS is one of the largest national AIS-based coastal surveillance systems ever to be deployed. This is a standard product from Saab.

One of the main challenges was the WAN connections from remote locations, often in rural areas, where the AIS base stations are connected to the main control centres. This was solved with VSAT technology. Our Indian partner, Elcome Marine, did an excellent job to adapt standard VSAT technology to our system.

The response to the system has been very good. Representatives from the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) Office have said that they are very pleased with the performance of the system. This project was done in collaboration with Elcome and the customers were happy that the project was completed well within the time frame, considering the size and the technical complexities of the project. The customer’s comments and suggestions during the implementation phase were implemented as the project went along.

Q. Apart from NAIS, what other programmes are you currently involved with the Indian Navy/ Coast Guard?
NAIS is a project involving the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard as well. Beyond the functionality of the NAIS, several exploratory discussions are on to build on the platform created with this system.

Q. What next from Saab in this sector in the coming 10-20 years?
Saab is heavily involved in the European research project MONALISA. The future implementation of AIS 2.0 and MONALISA project involves dynamic and proactive routeing worldwide together with satellite based AIS. This new technology forms a truly global RMP and provides new set of operational requirements/ opportunities for merchant fleets, advanced logistic chains and civil security. A truly positive identification of all cooperating ships will leave a smaller number of vessels to inspect for suspicious behaviour.