Border protection capability enhanced
Cobham Australia celebrated the second instalment of capability under the Sentinel border protection contract at its base in Darwin.
The second phase of the capability upgrade involved the commissioning of a unique surveillance information management system that was developed and installed on 10 aircraft in partnership with Italy’s Selex Galileo.
The system supports a very high rate of effort by providing reliability and stability while managing huge volumes of data related to marine vessels.
The data is encrypted on board the aircraft and transmitted via satellite to the National Surveillance Centre in Canberra in packets every few minutes.
The system also facilitates data sharing between aircraft and to remotes nodes used by Customs personnel on tactical operations.
Cobham Australia CEO Peter Nottage said at the event that “… today we are celebrating that the tenth system has been fitted to the last Dash-8 aircraft on time and on budget. Truly a significant achievement when you consider the complexity and size of the software development and integration task within the time allowed.”
The border protection operation managed and operated by Cobham involves 12 aircraft based at Cairns, Broome and Darwin, flying around 17,000 hours a year. It amounts to 80 per cent of the total border protection provided by fixed-wing aircraft.
Missions are flown at between 800 and 3000 feet for up to eight hours, including at night – though it is not an around-the-clock operation. Normal crewing consist of two pilots and two observers.
Cobham Australia is proud to point out that this is the largest civil surveillance operation in the world (given that the huge US effort is largely para-military) employing 73,000 people across 400 sites in the aerospace, defence and security sectors.