The European Border Control Agency (Frontex) has awarded Indra a service contract which incorporates the company's P2006T MRI aircraft into the EPN Triton maritime surveillance operation in the central zone of the Mediterranean Sea.
The agency signed a framework agreement with Indra last August which qualified the company to bid in this type of tender, which Frontex uses to covers its response needs in the case of crisis situations. Indra's MRI P2006T had to compete with aircraft from companies from all over Europe, thus demonstrating its outstanding capabilities.
Starting March 10 and throughout the whole of this month, the MRI is conducting surveillance tasks in the area around southern Italy to track the movement of illegal vessels engaged in trafficking immigrants, and to provide support for lifesaving efforts. The aircraft collects in-flight information and conveys it in real-time to the system's control station at its headquarters in the Italian airport of Brindisi.
This information is simultaneously shared with the Coordination and Control Center (LCC) of the Italian Guardia di Finanza located in Pomezia (Rome), and the Frontex offices in Warsaw, which supervise the whole operation.
Indra's P2006T MRI is equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems and can effectively monitor large areas. It has a FLIR Systems large-format latest-generation high-definition electro-optical camera, a SELEX Galileo Radar Seaspray 5000E radar, and an AIS vessel identification system. It can monitor areas between the coastline and 150 miles out to sea, with patrols lasting between four and six hours.
This technology detects the vessels so as to coordinate interception and lifesaving activities. Since the EPN's Triton operation was launched in November 2014 it has helped almost 22,300 migrants, including over 7,000 who received direct help from vessels and aircraft participating in the operation.
The European agency Frontex has opted to use the MRI P2006T in its operations, after having verified its efficacy on several missions. The MRI plane took part in Frontex's Operation Indalo with the Spanish Civil Guard, when it completed more than 180 flying hours; and in the Operation Close Eye in which Frontex assessed its efficacy in the surveillance of the Sicilian Channel, and when it completed 120 flying hours. Indra's light aircraft has also passed tests in such demanding environments as the North Sea in Scotland.
Galicia, new base for the MRI P2006T
After completing this mission, Indra will transfer the MRI P2006T to the Rozas Aero Transport Research Center (Lugo), where the company will continue working to develop and improve this advanced surveillance platform.
The reason for this transfer is that Indra has decided to base all its activities for developing civil solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Galicia, due to the advantages of the Galician aerodrome for conducting flight tests.
The company is developing the optionally piloted version (OPV) of the MRI P2006T in Rozas, which it has christened Targus. The development of this version has the primary advantage of being based on a platform whose effectiveness in surveillance missions has already been demonstrated. One of the first applications for unmanned aircraft in the civilian sphere will be maritime and terrestrial surveillance.
The Targus is one of the systems due to be developed by Indra within the Civil UAV initiative launched by the Xunta de Galicia to create an industrial and development hub for civilian unmanned aircraft. This is one of the most innovative initiatives rolled out in Europe to advance the incorporation of these systems in the civilian sphere.
Date: Mar 22, 2016