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UAE SRC: In pursuit of technology

The wise leadership of UAE and from its extreme interest in protection of national security and deep future vision, represented by His Highness Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, decided to establish a National Ground Receiving Station “Space Reconnaissance Center” to directly receive high resolution satellite images, to insure rapid and independent reception of images that will be utilized in protecting national security, supporting regional and global peace and civilian application of images by UAE government organizations.

The UAE Space Reconnaissance Center (SRC) brings the technology and experience to turn data into actionable information, leading to information superiority in the 21st century.

Information Superiority- Now and in the Future
New technology has made a dramatic and powerful impact on the means available to support National Security objectives. The SRC operates systems that assist in the Early Warning, Monitoring and Security missions of the Armed Forces for the country and the region.

Accurate, timely information allows a true assessment of a situation and enables the concerned commanders to take proper decisions regarding support of critical operations, emergency relief, regional security, monitoring illegal activities peacekeeping operations and training and simulation activities.

The UAE SRC has an aggressive technology insertion program. All programs and activities are built around the concept of flexibility, in order to add new technology as it becomes available, and continually improve on the techniques used today.

Universal Ground Station
A peculiar high-end technological center for receiving and processing imagery data, the SRC is a turnkey remote sensing system which employs advanced capabilities for tasking, receiving, processing, analyzing satellite and aerial imagery data and making relevant reports that will be rapidly handled to commanders to help taking proper decisions for the situation.

The Universal Ground Station is composed of four key segments:

  • Satellite Control and Tasking wing
  • Image Production segment
  • Imagery Exploitation and Analysis segment
  • Training and Continuous Education segment

The imagery reception wing involve the satellite control & tasking (SCT) cell, requirements manager (RM) cell, radio-frequency terminal (RFT) and the Indian and Korean satellites cells. The RM and SCT cells control sending orders to IKONOS satellite to image target areas of interest, receiving imagery data and performing basic processing with automatic correction and colour merging (1m resolution) and then sending data to production and analysis unit.

Satellite Constellation
The Universal Ground Station is capable of receiving imagery data from a constellation of satellites, nowadays including: IKONOS, IRS, and KOMPSAT.

IKONOS satellite (USA): One of the latest, provides 1m images and can collect stereo images in the same path. IRS satellites (India): provides imagery in five-meter resolution and large geographic coverage.

KOMPSAT satellite (S. Korea): Collects normal images at 6.6-meter resolution .

There are some other data sources like aerial and UAV images; collected by F-16, Mirage 2000 and other aerial / UAV platforms, the data of which can be manually ingested into the system. The Universal Ground Station systems was carefully designed to accommodate future developments; adding other existing satellites such as SPOT and near future satellite systems.

Diverse products are generated in response to requirements for timely, accurate and actionable information critical to the National Security and in support of the specific needs of the Armed Forces. The production segment utilizes latest image processing software and hardware necessary for production of all possible imagery products and relevant information, and hence, provide end users in military units and government organizations with their needs.

The SRC is electronically linked to the different armed forces units to insure timely delivery of the required data and information. Data is held in an archive and can be retrieved and returned at a moment’s notice. Products include corrected images, orthorectified images, digital terrain data, color merged images and image mosaics.

These image products fulfill the UAE Army mapping requirements and meet the international standards.

End Users
The SRC end-users include: Directo-rate of Military Intelligence: The SRC is the main source of imagery information for DMI. DMI integrates imagery data with other data sources to extract valid intelligence information.

Intelligence Surveillance and Reco-nnaissance: The SRC is an asset of the ISR providing it with imagery for interpretation and analysis. Images are added to the facilities/targets database and the interpretation results of which are used to update database and make/update the intelligence reports .

Air Force Air Operation Center: The SRC provides AFAOC with imagery that the latter integrate with the real time radar data that its generates which provides a better visualization air picture.

The Air Force Strategic Analysis Center: AFSAC integrates a suite of multi-echelon combat simulations to provide realistic training to Commanders and their staffs.

The Air Bases: SRC provides updated imagery mission planning and mission visualization systems to plan, rehearse and debrief sorties for the UAE Air Force’s F-16s and Mirage 2000s fighter jets. Capabilities include multiple aircraft route planning with deconfliction, tactical overlays, threat analysis, radar and visual predictions, enhanced visualization, and generic and specific sensor planning and post-mission debriefings.