A Royal Air Force A400M Atlas aircraft has been flown from RAF Brize Norton this morning to support Border Force operations in the English Channel.
A @RoyalAirForce Atlas aircraft has been flown from @RAFBrizeNorton this morning to support Border Force operations in the Channel. Authorised by the Defence Secretary @BWallaceMP, the surveillance aircraft is an initial offer of assistance as @DefenceHQ supports @ukhomeoffice.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) August 10, 2020
As some pointed out, then Home Secretary Theresa May terminated a £4 million contract with aviation firm Cobham to provide an ‘eye in the sky’ over British waters in January 2016 despite warnings.
Here we go.
Just a reminder that the Home Office terminated their aerial surveillance contract with Cobham in 2016.
Now the MoD is picking up their mess with scarce, costly to operate, assets poorly suited to the role.
Will the HO be re-investing in their own aerial assets? 🤔 https://t.co/TPkhjlyHtS
— Engaging Strategy (@EngageStrategy1) August 10, 2020
Earlier in the year, we reported that Elbit Systems had been selected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to conduct maritime demonstration flights in the UK using a number of its unmanned aerial surveillance systems.
The firm say that the demonstration flights are designed to demonstrate the advantages of using long-range unmanned capabilities in civilian airspace, with the ability to utilise multiple sensors on a single platform. Elbit Systems UK will collaborate closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, supported by additional UK companies, including Inzpire and Aviation Systems Group.
The solution will be based around the Hermes 900 aircraft.
With a wingspan of 15 metres, the 1.2 Ton Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol is a long-range maritime surveillance system tailored for littoral and blue water operations, say Elbit.
“It features maritime radar, an Electro Optic payload, Satellite Communication, an Automatic Identification System receiver and an Emergency Position-indicating Radio Beacon receiver. The Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol enables persistent monitoring of vast swathes of sea and long coastlines with effective advanced search capabilities to support with valuable search and rescue work as well as the identification of potential hazards. Elbit Systems’ Skylark I-LEX will also be taking part in the demonstration flights.”
Elbit say they will support the MCA in their existing efforts, providing a 24-hour maritime search and rescue service around the UK coast and in the international search and rescue region through HM Coastguard.