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May 4, 2022

Kongsberg and FFI develop space-based maritime surveillance capabilities

The new capabilities will support defence operations such as search and rescue missions, to help naval vessels in distress.

The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt or FFI) and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace have developed new capabilities to conduct satellite-based maritime surveillance.

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Kongsberg is now working to establish Norway’s first satellite constellation technology comprising of three satellites.

The company is investing in the procurement of three satellites, which will be manufactured by NanoAvionics in Lithuania.

The satellite will further be equipped with Kongsberg’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) and FFI’s navigation radar detector, to analyse maritime vessel’s radar use.

In addition, the satellites will include an encryption solution to establish secure communication. The system will be developed by Norwegian-based company Eidel.

With all the technologies together, the three satellites will keep a track of ship traffic in the area and will also help to report the naval vessels, which are reporting incorrect AIS data.

The new capabilities, along with advanced data analysis, will allow Norway to monitor activities in the High North and contribute to various defence operations.

It will allow the deployed naval forces to identify various illegal activities including illegal fishing, smuggling and vessels engaged in environmental crime.

FFI director general Kenneth Ruud said: “This will strengthen Norway’s role as NATO in the North which is important in the current tense geopolitical situation.”

“At the same time, it contributes to several civilian purposes for control in Norwegian sea areas.

“This will also expand Norwegian space expertise building our national capacities and ability within what is becoming an increasingly critical infrastructure.”

The three satellites will be operated by Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) from a 6,000m² building currently under construction in Kongsberg city.

The building will include specialised facilities for the production and development of the new space-based products.

The estimated cost of constructing the building along with the development of three satellites is approximately $31.98m (NOK300m).

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