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The presence of military and security forces on the high seas or the littoral sends a powerful message that a nation or alliance is committed to the provision of a stabilising influence in the area or region. These deployed maritime platforms and associated coastal sites require the right mix of Intelligence.

Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in order to maintain individual and collective Situational Awareness. Tactical Electronic Warfare (EW) is a key enabler of this common operational picture.

Maritime Security and Interdiction Operations

Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) covers many spheres including Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations executed today all over the world. Searching for narcotics and weapon smuggling or terrorist and insurgent groups, the boarding party needs to be as informed as possible about the location and intent of the vessel and crew prior to boarding or seizure. Having non traditional EW platforms such as boarding party RHIBS or other small vessels fitted with tailored ES and or EA capabilities enables them to contribute to the FIND, FIX and potentially EXPLOIT of the target vessel and its occupants.

Critical National Infrastructure

Oil and gas platforms are critical parts of a nation’s infrastructure and economy. Any disruption to their production or their seizure by terrorist groups would cost a nation millions of dollars in lost productivity per hour. Although many platforms are currently within territorial waters some are not, and as the search for newer sources of energy increases many sit outside territorial limits. The protection of these platforms relies mainly on early warning of an approaching threat to enable interdiction by naval/marine or security forces. EW can be a key part of this early warning system, as well as providing a further layer of protection for the platform and crew.

Counter Terrorism and Piracy

The increase in Piracy over the last 10 years has required naval forces to review their tactics and the platforms they require to counter this threat. A new breed of smaller and faster littoral or inshore patrol craft have been developed to counter the threat from pirates using small, fast and agile craft to board and seize merchant ships. This new breed of littoral craft needs to conduct their own intelligence collect, away from the large capital platforms that traditionally have operated these assets. Deploying Tactical EW on board these littoral craft and the ability to forward mount this capability onto boarding vessels or RHIBS gives the tactical commander vital early warning of position, movement and intent of pirate/terrorist manned craft.

Coastguard and Border Control

Threats to the integrity of national borders has increased exponentially over the last few years, from criminals involved in the smuggling of narcotics, weapons, explosives and the trafficking of humans to global terrorism and extremism of all forms. Good (timely and relevant) intelligence is vital to interdicting these threats early and EW has the ability to FIND and FIX and potentially EXPLOIT these threats at an early juncture.