A nation's border serves as a critical element for security, economic prosperity, and the safeguarding of public services and communities. Effective border security requires a range of measures to ensure protection, observation, detection, tracking, investigation, response, and command and control. Persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) plays a pivotal role in achieving robust border security. However, current surveillance methods often fall short in terms of endurance, capability and cost-effectiveness.
Enter Airlander, an airborne platform that revolutionises border surveillance by addressing one of the major pain points faced by security agencies. With its unparalleled capabilities, Airlander can accommodate a multi-tonne, multi-sensor mission payload, enabling continuous ISR for up to five days. This extended endurance allows for comprehensive multi-sensor monitoring and enhanced, timely intelligence gathering across vast border areas, minimising problems in detection of objects of interest, blind spots, and improving situational awareness.
Airlander's expansive space and power capacity make it ideal for hosting multiple large-aperture, multi-spectral sensors, and mission systems. Additionally, the platform can be equipped with advanced on-board Processing, Exploitation, Dissemination (PED) and communication capabilities. This enables real-time analysis and the generation of actionable intelligence reports, directly supporting commanders and ground forces.
By consolidating multiple sensors onto a single platform, Airlander enables real-time cross cueing between different sensors, significantly increasing detection and recognition capability and ensuring continuous tracking and identification of items of interest across different distances and perspectives. This means that potential threats can be monitored from afar, tracked closely, and observed in detail without any loss of contact. This eliminates the need for deploying numerous limited-sensor-capability assets across various domains, significantly streamlining operations, reducing costs and providing decision makers with time sensitive intelligence and situational awareness not previously available to them.
The effectiveness of Airlander's persistent ISR capabilities was demonstrated during NATO's simulation trial, UNIFIED VISION. Equipped with a Ground Moving Target Indicator and Synthetic Aperture imaging radar, Full Motion day/night Video cameras, and a long-range Electro Optical/Infra-Red camera, Airlander successfully tracked "objects of interest" ranging from military convoys, key single vehicles and even people over five days, establishing “Patterns of Life” understanding that included, in one of the scenarios, the understanding of terrorist networks and safe houses. Its wide-area surveillance capabilities, combined with targeted identification, made Airlander the preferred choice for airborne data collection throughout the NATO exercise.
Airlander's versatility extends beyond border surveillance. It requires no runways or expensive infrastructure, as it can take off and land on any relatively flat surface, including ice and water. Moreover, its fuel-efficient engines emit far fewer emissions than conventional aircraft, aligning with environmental sustainability objectives.
In addition to ISR, Airlander's surplus payload space and power present opportunities for additional services. It can serve as a communications relay, establishing seamless connectivity across border regions. Furthermore, Airlander can act as an airborne command post, enabling efficient coordination and decision-making in critical situations. During non-surveillance periods, the platform can be deployed for diverse national duties such as Search and Rescue operations or delivering Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR).
With Airlander, security agencies can overcome the limitations of traditional surveillance methods and achieve comprehensive and persistent ISR coverage for border security. By adopting this innovative platform, security forces can enhance time sensitive situational awareness, improve response capabilities, and optimise resource allocation, all while ensuring cost-effective and sustainable low carbon footprint operations.