How Do Aerostats Assist In Combating Maritime Piracy?

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Credit: Raymond L. Blazevic.
  • The massive size and highly unregulated nature of waterways worldwide have made the maritime environment attractive for criminals of transnational violence.
  • Sea-borne terrorism has become more common since 2000.
  • A rise in commercial naval traffic and a decline in coastal and port-side security are a few reasons for the increased maritime crime.

 

The vast breadth and mostly unregulated nature of the world’s waterways have drawn transnational violent criminals to the marine environment. Since 2000, sea-borne terrorism has increased in frequency. Small arms proliferation around the world and expanding oversight gaps in the maritime domain are to blame. A few factors contributing to the growth in maritime crime include an increase in commercial naval traffic and a decrease in security along the coast and in ports as reported by Scandasia.

Freight trading

According to Peter Chalk of the RAND Corporation, analysts are concerned that terrorists could soon use freight trading to move WMD, particularly in South-East Asia where crime is pervasive. Furthermore, even for industrialised nations, maintaining maritime security has proven difficult due to the technical challenges of screening incoming naval traffic and the necessity to balance marine and land-based security requirements.

However, despite recent developments in ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) technology, no single solution can deliver all the data required to reduce marine crime. Despite these obstacles, maritime aerostats remain one of the most efficient, quick, and effective ways to provide decision-makers with the data they need.

Similar to blimps, tethered marine aerostats are balloons that employ lighter-than-air gases to take off and maintain altitude while being moored by ground apparatus. These balloons are employed as tactical flying platforms for scientific apparatus such as cameras, radars, and other cameras. Additionally, they can be created and developed in accordance with particular specifications like operating temperature, wind speed, altitude, and payload carrying capacity. An efficient way to carry out numerous duties, such as marine border surveillance, is to integrate a tethered aerostat with essential information system components. Due to its capacity to stay at higher altitudes and provide uses for communications relay, atmospheric testing, and radio frequency jamming, the military and navy stand to gain the most from the deployment of aerostat.

Guaranteed maritime safety

However, they seem best adapted for the task of constant border supervision. Their system allows them to survive in unpredictable conditions while reducing operational expenses and extending dwell times. Their pricey and intricate replacements, such as human-manned aeroplanes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), on the other hand, are more prone to mechanical and human error-related accidents. Aerostats are ideal for guaranteeing maritime safety due to their operational necessity and capacity to meet a variety of purposes.

Since the early 2000s, many global superpowers have placed aerostats in their marine areas to increase local and international maritime security. Singapore became the first South-East Asian nation in 2014 to acquire such a high-tech balloon, which has been used by military and law enforcement organisations in the U.S. and Britain since the 1980s, according to Singapore Daily. However, in the remainder of South-East Asia, the technology has not yet advanced significantly. In any case, rising government spending on enhancing security is probably going to promote the expansion of the Asia Pacific aerostat systems market. As a result of the Indian government’s numerous strategic endeavours to strengthen its military capabilities, the market for aerostat systems in India is predicted to develop at the highest CAGR between 2020-27.

Match shifting missions

Additionally, a number of businesses, including Aeros, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, responded to the urgent demand for aerostats with monitoring capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. To build their fort, however, new-age enterprises from South-East Asia must also diversify in aerostats. The Wynyard Group is one such organisation that is actively exploring aerostat technology in order to introduce them to South-East Asia. Tethered Aerostats with the ability to support a range of monitoring and tactical gear, including high-definition video cameras, EO/IR sensors, communication repeaters, acoustic detectors, radar, and a ground control station for media storage, data transmission, and system management tasks, are what the company hopes to manufacture.

Aerostats from Wynyard Group may have the ability to be upgraded to match shifting mission requirements, which would be a bonus for the changing requirements of military and law enforcement organisations. Its system would feed video and data to a ground control station and provide 360° coverage, high-quality intelligence collection, and precise target allocation.

As a result, the widespread use of aerostat technology in South-East Asia would alter how surveillance operations are carried out by naval security agencies. The technology would produce an automated, affordable, and sustainable alternative to maintaining continuous maritime border surveillance.

 

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Source: Scandasia

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