July 27 2021
Universally, our Homeland security, national security, law enforcement and policing customers select us due to our ability to remove complexity in their non-core competency aviation activities. Put simply, they focus on valuable data that provides stituational awareness from various threat vectors, while we focus on efficiently and effectively collectign that data using a variety of high-availability, mission equipped aviation assets (fixed wing, rotary or UAV).
The team focus on four areas of assistance for our customers:
Assesment of the platforms and capabilities required from the platform looking at a wide range of requirements including operational dwell times, sound signatures to EO/IR sensor capabilities, etc.
Everything from IR sensors, Trakka searlights or cameras deployed on the airframe through to mission suites within the interiors, our Design & modifications team hold both civil and military approvals to design, prototype, create and deploy capabilities suitable for your mission.
The mission support team will provide comprehensive maintenance coverage for a wide range of airframes in use for law enforcement, policing, homeland & national security. These types range from Bombardier Global to helicopters such as the Airbus H145.
Our mission solutions provide turnkey solutions for customers that are seeking to have a single monthly & flight time charge for the use of a platform to collect data. These turnkey solutions are provided on a multi-year basis deploying fixed wing, helicopter and UAV assets (through our partners SkyFutures)
“Thank you for completing the flying for us, and for being so flexible during the nights of the mission. Your efforts are much appreciated as is the considerable skill of the pilots in dealing with the exact requirements of this mission.” Name withheld
Employing disparate platforms and multiple sensors over an expansive geography, homeland security poses significant challenges at the platform selection, sensor integration and operational levels. Creating a datalinked network of information-sharing platforms, however, has the potential to increase value for money and, more importantly, enhance operational effectiveness, as a seemingly complex aircraft fleet becomes a mutually supportive team.
Homeland security is about people – keeping them safe, detecting and acting against illegal activity, delivering help quickly and efficiently whenever and wherever it is needed, and maintaining a presence to reassure and deter. Geography is a crucial deciding factor in how those results are achieved, in particular whether a maritime element is required, but the extent of patrolled borders and terrain are also significant.
Requiring persistence and careful observation, border patrol and protection may lend itself to a UAV operation, but which type of UAV – line of sight or beyond line of sight? And how does such an operation comply with local regulatory constraints? But then there is no technological replacement for the sharp eyes and honed instinct of an airborne human operator, so ought the UAV supplement crewed helicopters or light fixed-wing aircraft?
Illegal and economic migration pose challenges on land and at sea. Regular patrols with advanced sensors are as important for establishing ‘normal’ as they are for spotting criminal activity. But as with all sensor-equipped platforms, some of the data gathered is surplus to the mission yet potentially valuable elsewhere. Datalinking to a control centre, the cloud, or direct to anther platform, therefore enhances operational effectiveness manifold.
The sensors of a twin-turboprop, for example, searching for a vessel involved in criminal activity, might also detect pollution on the water, enabling the timely launch of other services to prevent environmental damage. Equally likely, it could spot a vessel in distress, triggering a SAR scramble with the immediate prospect of saving lives.
This information advantage can be applied over land with similar benefits. Equip a platform with an infrared sensor, for example, and it is ideally suited to border patrol. But that IR kit is equally capable of detecting accidental or natural fires, enabling prevention or swift containment.
Extending the networking concept to encompass aircraft engaged in homeland security, resource monitoring and law enforcement brings these discrete missions into a single data-gathering entity, enhancing efficiency in every task, regardless of market, by sharing relevant data from other platforms, while expanding homeland security operations through the exploitation of otherwise unused information.
Systems commonality, efficient data gathering and exploitation, platform optimisation, and robust command and control are critical factors in effectively deploying homeland security aviation assets. Gama Aviation’s platform agnostic approach, market knowledge, and compliance and operational know how make it the primary choice for complex mission fulfilment. Bringing with them industry-leading experience, Gama Aviation’s subject matter experts are ready to offer advice on upgrading existing systems and acquiring new platforms, to deliver engineering and operational support, or provide complete, turn-key solutions.
Ultimately, combining your homeland security requirements with our law enforcement expertise delivers market-spanning, integrated solutions, enhancing operational and cost effectiveness on every mission.
The requirements of police aviation, seem especially straightforward. A helicopter, equipped with an electro-optical sensor and appropriate radios, is the obvious platform to mount a police observer directly assisting officers on the ground. It is the way police aviation support has traditionally been achieved, with acceptable results for the most part.
When it comes to tracking unfolding events on the ground, or flying command and control over an active crime scene, nothing compares to the view, speed of reaction and manoeuvrability a helicopter affords a well-trained police observer. But is a mission-equipped helicopter always the most operationally relevant solution? It is almost certainly not always the most cost effective.
Where the mission requires persistent over-watch, a UAV – even a relatively simple line-of-site system – offers an effective, cost-efficient means of generating real-time video imagery that may be used in concert with ground or other airborne assets. With the UAV on station, the helicopter can be employing its high-end capability elsewhere to greater effect, yet ready to respond to developments spotted by the UAV.
There is also a law enforcement role for fixed-wing crewed aircraft. The higher speed and greater reach of a fixed-wing aircraft compared to a helicopter makes it the more suitable platform for wide-area search and where persistent observation is required over large geographical areas. A light aircraft with sufficient capacity for pilot and observer, police radios and EO sensor is the simple choice for such missions, but may not be cost-effective in the longer term.
Adding capability to an airframe inevitably leads to the desire for more. Meanwhile, rapid developments in sensor and communications technology mean new equipment may become available and committing to an aircraft of limited capacity at the beginning of a contract could mean compromising mission capability later on.
But delivering effective police aviation support is about more than platforms. Smart basing keeps assets close to where their services are most likely to be needed, while intelligent maintenance programmes, support and compliance assurance, guarantees availability.
Still on the ground, the key to maximising efficiency and capability is the control centre, potentially enhanced through networking. Datalinking a UAV or helicopter EO feed enables real-time off-platform analysis and intelligence/evidence collection. In the case of the helicopter or other crewed platform, off-board analysis may be complementary or in addition to that performed by the flying observer, effectively adding additional mission crew at minimal expense.
Expanding the concept, there is considerable commonality in platform requirements for resource monitoring, homeland security and law enforcement – an IR sensor is as capable of spotting a nascent heath fire, a fugitive or missing person whatever platform it is mounted on, and networking multiple platforms across agencies generates a resource that increases value for money and effectiveness for all.
We are uniquely placed to deliver capability in the important police aviation, resource monitoring and homeland security markets. From advice on platform selection and upgrade, through maintenance, compliance and training support, to complete operational solutions, its world-class team, track record and agility make us the ideal partner in delivering modern, cost-effective, advanced police aviation services.
Learning what’s ‘over the hill’, gathering intelligence a potential threat and collecting pattern-of-life information have been critical tasks since the dawn of military aviation. Indeed, armies employed balloons and perhaps even man-lifting kites as reconnaissance platforms long before the first heavier-than-air aeroplanes became a viable alternative.
Today, ISTAR encompasses intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, traditional missions completed through a combination of platforms and sensors, gathering imagery, video and electronic data across the frequency spectrum, usually networked and perhaps sharing information via secure cloud-based systems.
Modern technologies enable high-end capability on smaller platforms, while sensor-equipped UAVs open up the possibility of combining crewed and uncrewed platforms in the same ISTAR network. The result may be a complex system of systems, but the aim is always the same – collecting timely, accurate intelligence efficiently and cost-effectively.
With proven experience in ISTAR platform generation and in-service support, Gama Aviation has the capability to advise on platform selection, modify existing or newly sourced platforms for sensor integration, provide through-life support, or deliver a complete operational package. And, since the ISTAR platform of choice is frequently a business jet or small turboprop, Gama Aviation’s decades of business aviation experience offer an added layer of reassurance.
We understand the complexities and sensitivities of the ISTAR mission. Its subject matter experts are ready to advise on the suitability of existing platforms for ISTAR enhancement or modification, or on the optimum platform acquisition for your mission requirement. Thanks to our in-house engineering capability, we can modify your aircraft away from the public eye, helping ensure discrete service entry.
Externally, an ISTAR platform requires antennas, radomes, turrets and other additions to support its mission suite. Internally it will need one or more sensor operator or specialist crew stations. Gama Aviation is ready to engineer those modifications, whether you need an airframe modified ready for your mission suite integrator, or a complete, ready-to-fly package. We are also expert in performance modifications – installing long-range fuel tanks for extended endurance, for example – and equipping your aircraft to the latest avionics standards.
With its extensive engineering and compliance experience, we are the logical partner to provide complete support once your ISTAR platform is operational. Regular base maintenance is efficiently accomplished by our personnel stationed alongside your aircraft, with deeper maintenance performed at our secure facilities. We also offers proven and complete deployable support, providing the same standards of engineering capability when platforms are stationed away from home.
Combining these elements of expertise, we are the partner of choice for complete mission delivery. Our ability to source aircraft, modify airframes, install mission systems, offer through-life support and provide flight and mission crew, means we can deliver turn-key bespoke ISTAR capability whatever your mission.
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