Indra has successfully completed development and testing of new light maritime reconnaissance intelligence (MRI) aircraft for maritime surveillance to guard areas, including exclusive economic zones 50nm-200nm offshore.
Conducted off the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea, the series of tests demonstrated the advanced MRI system’s capability to perform surveillance missions in patrol areas even in adverse meteorological conditions.
During the tests, the MRI also validated its integrated FLIR Systems large-format, latest-generation, high-definition electro-optical camera, the SELEX Galileo Seaspray 5000E radar and the AIS vessel identification system capabilities.
In addition, the tests demonstrated the aircraft’s performance using onboard systems and sensors from the ground support station to monitor real-time missions.
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Based on the Tecnam P2006T light aircraft, the MRI system has been designed to support missions such as security, air-sea rescue and marine environmental control forces.
The new solution is being developed in collaboration with Tecnam, SELEX Galileo, FLIR Systems and Airborne Technologies.
Capable of detecting suspicious vessels or small objects in the sea by capturing the automatic identification signals of ships, the MRI system can conduct missions in maritime zones that are usually out of the range of surveillance systems on medium-size helicopters used by coastguards.
The twin-engine aircraft uses traditional fuel to lower operational costs, can take-off and land in makeshift runways, is easy-to-use and requires low levels of maintenance.
Following the receipt of legislation approval to operate UAVs in controlled airspace, the next phase of the programme involves converting the aircraft into an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) to enable unmanned operations.
Image: Indra-built MRI aircraft undergoing mission. Photo: courtesy of Indra.