Civil ISR International – Chairmans Report

Chairmans report by Terry Loughran, Rear Admiral CB FRAeS   |  Civil ISR International, 16/17 July 2013    |    As an adjunct to the regular Tangent Link series of aviation related Conferences, Airborne Early Warning, Airborne Special Mission, Search and Rescue, Police Aviation, Humanitarian Disaster Relief Technology and Aerial Firefighting, the decision to present to an audience on Civil ISR at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, was well founded.  The apparent overlap with a number of the above events was offset by a beneficial focus on the Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance aspects of each.

 

The enduring ISR message of team work and the essential requirement to fuse the data available from a variety of sources, was reinforced by the Keynote speaker Air Marshal Philip Sturley (former Assistant Chief of the Air Staff).

Para Military activities from Counter Terrorism (Garda Siochana Ireland), Customs and Police (Guardia Finanza Italy) and the National Police Air Service UK, to Fishery Protection and Pollution control highlighted the benefits of multi-agency cooperation. Surveillance of Sea Area Activities by Transport Canada and the world’s largest Airborne Surveillance Contract (Cobham) covering the coast line and Islands of Australia, showed the scale and demands of some operations.

 

The wide variety and scope of CIVIL ISR was contrasted between Rescue Global’s Aerial Reconnaissance in Crisis and Disaster and DO Systems Commercial ISR under government contract in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Remotely Piloted Air Systems (UAVs) attracted considerable

attention, stimulated by a presentation on JARUS, the Joint Authorities for Unmanned Systems. Valuable though these are in contributing to situational awareness overall, a majority of operations benefit from manned vehicles.

 

A measure of the equipment available to enhance a platform’s  ISR capability was indicated by the Exhibitors on hand, complimented with advice on selecting fit-for-purpose  ISR equipment from that available, from the vastly experienced Manager of the Support Services Group  within the Intelligence and Covert Support Command, Victoria Police, South Australia.

 

Amongst a most comprehensive programme, the decorated former Harrier Pilot Chris Norton, co-founder of 2Excel Aviation, a business founded on doing difficult things well’,

and of which he heads the development, test and evaluation arm, was particularly valuable. Balancing the pros and cons of platforms, electro optics, infra-red sensors, lasers, radars and exploiting the frequency spectrum, his principal message was one of getting the product out of the air and into the minds of the decision makers, reinforcing that aerial surveillance is only part of an overall system. Given the wealth of data available, agencies should selectively pull’ the information they need (ideally from a central distribution centre) rather than being pushed’ an unmanageable amount.

 

The Conference was neatly rounded off on the second afternoon by the Strategic Principal Sponsor, RUAG with a Civil ISR Workshop, including valuable advice from Laurence Price, their Business Development Manager, on avoiding the pitfalls in Modification and Upgrade Programmes.   The Company’s Dornier 228 New Generation, a versatile ISR platform (to be renamed the “Enforcer” – tbc) and glass cockpit Super Puma were showcased in the Marshall lecture theatre and outside on the adjacent hard standing.

 

A highly successful inaugural Civil ISR International event.

 

Terry Loughran

Conference Chairman                                                                    20 July 2013