Horizon Technologies and the Satellite Applications Catapult have signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC) to supply satellite data from their new IOD-3 AMBER satellite. This data will provide government end-users with crucial maritime information allowing law enforcement agencies to pinpoint and potentially intercept law breakers at sea.
Horizon Technologies already has a proven track record of working with national governments, international and regional organizations, and private industry. This partnership with NMIC will cement Horizon Technologies’ position as a leading supplier of maritime intelligence from satellites.
The satellite forms part of the Satellite Applications Catapult’s In-Orbit Demonstration programme (IOD), funded by Innovate UK, and combines three different types of data, including information from satellite phones, to help track marine vessels.
At present, all ships are fitted with Automatic Identification Signals (AIS), which can be detected by satellites, but AIS can be disabled to avoid detection when undertaking activities such as illegal fishing, piracy, smuggling, and transhipments. This new satellite will reduce the dependency on AIS by using other sources of data to provide location information.
The payload on board IOD-3 AMBER will be able to locate and track vessels worldwide by picking up their electronic emissions using an L-band Satphone detection sensor package derived from the existing FlyingFish™ system. This is combined with an AIS receiver and sensors to detect, geolocate, and classify X/S-band maritime radars, allowing correlation of these signals against the presence of AIS beacons.
John Beckner, CEO of Horizon Technologies said, “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with NMIC to supply our new data set to the UK government. Around the world, governments and law enforcement agencies are dealing with a dramatic increase in crime at sea, and our service will give the UK a new and powerful source of information to detect and take action against this type of illegal activity.”
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said, “The IOD-3 AMBER satellite exemplifies what can be achieved by a UK organisation with an innovative idea in a market with significant demand and commercial potential. The partnership with NMIC is a key step, as it secures an important customer for the data supplied by IOD-3, ensuring that Horizon Technologies has a bright future supplying data to governments around the world, all from their base in the UK.”
Phil Ponsford from NMIC said, “The new data that will be provided by IOD-3 AMBER will revolutionise the way we use information from satellites to tackle the full range of maritime security threats to the UK. It has the potential to assist UK agencies in preventing a wide range of illegal activities including smuggling and people trafficking, and I’m sure it will fill a vital information gap in our maritime collection requirement as it comes online.”