BAE Systems along with acting advisory the UK Royal Navy have announced that a feasibility study over the development of an early warning suite for commercial ships to fight piracy is underway.

The early warning suite, announced at this year’s Defence Systems & Equipment International event, includes an HF surface wave radar to detect small craft at ranges up to 25km, a panoramic area surveillance system fusing a 360° video camera and IR and navigation radar data to provide visual identification.

In addition, the suite incorporates a passive radar identification system to warn of unidentified radar-carrying vessels and improved shipboard lighting.

Sea trials involving a prototype suite installed in a commercial vessel are expected to take place in UK waters early in 2010.