The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will upgrade to Leonardo’s latest Osprey radar to support missions such as search and rescue, border protection, fishery and pollution patrols.

Leonardo say that the Osprey 30 radar will be installed on-board the two customised Beechcraft King Air aircraft provided to the UK MCA by UK-based aviation services company 2Excel.

Currently, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency operaties Leonardo’s Seaspray 7300E radar, which has been employed to support of regular fishery and pollution patrols around the UK.

“The radar comes equipped with Leonardo’s patented small target detection capability, allowing it to spot shipwrecked individuals in the water at long range, even in the most difficult environmental conditions and sea states. Additionally, the radar provides the ability for MCA crews to identify oil spills and rogue polluters at very long range, day or night.

2Excel will build on this success by equipping the MCA King Airs with Leonardo’s second generation Osprey radar, the latest entry in its range of E-scan surveillance radars. Osprey benefits from all of the capabilities of the Company’s Seaspray family whilst also adding additional modes and optimized overland and coastal imaging capabilities. This makes the radar ideally suited to mixed environment operations, such as along the coast.”

Osprey 30

The firm added in a news release:

“Traditionally, coastguard aircraft have used radars with restricted fields of view and limited detection capabilities, making searches laborious and resource-intensive. Leonardo’s radars solve these problems. The Company is a world leader in E-scan, also known as AESA (Active Electronically-Scanned Array) technology, which uses a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules to ‘steer’ an electronic beam, rather than mechanically moving the radar to point at a target. With a Leonardo E-Scan radar, crews can lift off, scan in 360 degrees and almost-instantaneously detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts, allowing crews to quickly task cooperating aircraft to deeply search an area of interest.

Other E-scan advantages include extremely high reliability, as the radar can continue to operate effectively throughout a mission even if a number of its individual radar modules fail. Customers in 30 countries have selected Leonardo’s E-scan radars including the Seaspray and Osprey families, with the US Navy procuring the Osprey 30 radar for its Fire Scout unmanned helicopter programme.”

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Is this to help the French locate and escort dozens of illegal inflatable boats weekly to UK waters then being picked up and by coastguard ships…. we shouldn’t accept anyone entering the UK illegally.

Daniele Mandelli

Ah someone else has noticed?

Hundreds a week at the mo I believe. All nicely ignored by the majority of the mainstream media.

Steve H

I think the Government are being forced to take a load before we shut up shop, this EU thing was a total disaster from the moment we joined. The second we leave properly, I reckon the RN OPV’s will be almost permanently in the waters in and around the channel and all fishing waters. I don’t want to get political on this forum but our fishing grounds will be under siege until they learn their lesson.


To early to say if leaving the EU was a good thing ,look at the mess of choosing china’s 5G with the US and china threatening to blackmail the UK either way we choose. Would this of happen if we still had the clout of the EU which is the 3rd largest economy in the world.


Hundreds a day sounds like daily mail talk to me. The problem is under international law, once they are in your waters they are your problem. You can send them back to the source country, but working out what that country is and whether it is safe for them to return is not an easy task. Really all this is going to do is help us ensure these people don’t die crossing into our country, which i think is a reasonable thing to do from a humanitarian perspective. The idea that leaving the EU will solve this is just nonsense,… Read more »


I am afraid you are missing a very essential and important point. Those crossing the channel typical make asylum applications upon landing. There is a video online of an activist meeting migrants and offering free asylum advice. However, there is a European law regulating asylum applications, it is the Dublin Regulation 604/2013. That regulation is how the EU implements the asylum regime of the Geneva Convention. It’s a simple system: you make your asylum application in the first safe country. At the bare minimum that must be France. I live in France and can assure you it is a safe… Read more »


A useful post, although we have now left the EU so this is a bit of a mute point, as i assume with leaving the EU we leave that asylum regulation and so won’t be able to enforce it even if we could.


We are signatories to the Geneva Convention. The Dublin Regulation is a method of implementation. We’ll have to have our own method too. I doubt it will be dramatically different than Dublin.


The problem with our own implementation is that it won’t be a commonly agreed legally binding agreement with France and so won’t be enforceable.


France is a signatory to the GC too so under international law it would have to take the asylum seekers back. IClearly the Macron government is playing games with immigrants at the moment. would have thought that any enforcement issues would be solved at a diplomatic level, something like: do you still want our Chinooks in Mali or how’s about we look at your annual access to our fish stocks?


My understanding is that this isn’t what the GC requires, it requires that you consider asylum seekers and do not return them to countries where they will be under risk. The European deal on how to handle it is an interpretation of how to implement it in practice.


The whole fishing quota is a British thing, the EU really doesn’t make much money out of it (just like Britain doesn’t make much money out of fishing) and so its not a very strong bargaining chip.


It’s not the money, it’s the fish. Europeans eat far more fish than the Brits. The Med is fished out. Our fish stocks are of the highest quality. That’s why the first thing on the agenda at EU and third country trade talks is access to fish.Look how Filipino fishermen take the prospect of an FTA:


The fishing rights have no impact on them being able to eat the fish. Almost all the fish that are caught by British fisherman are sold to the EU and don’t see why that would change.


It is a huge deal. Access to fishing rights is a massive issue in France. Have a look on Marine Traffic at the numbers in our waters. And those are the ones with AIS turned on, most fishing vessels turn AIS off when they hit their mark. Have a look at this


This is looking at it from a UK perspective.

Look at the actual numbers, which are publicly (published by the ONS) available on money involved.

It is a blown up argument that really doesn’t make any real impact to anyone’s economy.


The money may not be much but Europe’s inefficient and protectionist farming system is largely the result of French agricultural policy. Most French politicians quail at the thought of upsetting farmers here. Same with fishing, a few ports blocked, a bit of rioting and burning and there’s massive political pressure. Our town got shut down for two days when Uber made an appearance. Taxi drivers downed tools, blocked the roads and set some bins on fire. A week later no Uber here.


The issue is France is one of 27 member states, a strong voice but only one, the idea that fishing rights is the UK’s strong bargaining chip is about as logical as Boris buses numbers. I suspect the UK will end up spending more money on patrol boats to protect the fishing (because it has become a policitical topic) than we own in income or tax revenue from the fishing (total revenue according to the ONS from UK and foreign fishing is around £990m, which means at best assuming 100% profit tax revenue of £190m, but clearly 100% profit is… Read more »


To be fair fishing is just one issue. We have a close relationship with France and I don’t think that they’d put that at risk by behaving like Turkey does with Greece. The problem can be solved, but seeing the UK Coastguard be used as a taxi service is terrible. Not only that it really is a massive criminal enterprise. The word is here that the ‘Ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia) are making a fortune from smuggling people.


Agreed, the French / English police should be more focused on the smugglers and destroying their boats than focused on the people being smuggled.

It is near impossible to tack the source of the problem (Africa link, as that would require massive international cooperation and police/military action in a foreign country which i doubt would be open to it) but it should in theory be possible to tackle the French/UK part of the problem, which must be where the boats and smugglers are based.


If you are interested this is the latest UK proposal to the EU on asylum: .The UK has made a specificcommitment to seek to negotiate a reciprocal agreement for family reunion of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in either the EU or the UK, with specified family members in the UK or the EU, where this is in the child’s best interests. 55.Beyond this, the UK is open to an agreement regulating asylum and migrant returns between the UK and the EU, or alternatively with individual Member States, underpinned by data sharing, to help counter illegal migration and deter misuse of… Read more »


So in summary if there is a deal (not looking very likely), it may covers part of the problem, whether the EU agrees to the 2nd part of your statement is on them, and i suspect France will block that as why would they want to be able to to return people to the UK, it would only be a one way flow.


You have a point. That’s when you get into dirty politics. If the numbers get such that HMG is under real pressure then it can take punitive action against the EU and France. However, the argument that leaving the EU will make it worse is largely a red herring as the EU system is broken. Hence why the French army are sat in my drive as I type (I always offer them a cup of tea, strangely they always refuse!!!)

Paul T

Nigel Farage has some Videos on YouTube where he explores the issues and goings on in the English Channel,i admit haven’t got around to watching any yet but they might prove interesting.


Farage the bastion of impartial reporting. A few years ago they did a video on how bad things were in the high street at night with drinkers and did it in my home town. They had to record for 6months to get one minor incident and the video stated this was a daily occurrence even though it took 6 months to find one. My point is the truth can easily be spun when there is an underlying objective / bias


…and then people believe the rubbish! Up to a few years back I lived in a very quiet small town and used to regularly walk home from the station between 7 and 10 pm. An elderly couple who lived nearby were amazed by this, describing the town centre as a no go area after 6 pm. In the 25 years I lived there I never saw any trouble in the town centre…..

Harry Bulpit

Where not. If cought their detained and kicked out.

Steve H

Bloody French……
As soon as I read the headline I knew it had something to do with BREXIT, these fellas are going to be very busy I think because with the Government digging in and not budging over fisheries, it’s going to be hard to keep them out of our waters.


If we started seizing & destroying vessels and detaining fishermen in UK jails for sentences representative of fisheries piracy laws in this country – it would eventually curtail it.

Fact is we don’t likely have the resources to do that and even if we did the political will to get tough is non-existent in modern politics. Seemingly the requirement for a spine hasn’t transferred through the years.

Daniele Mandelli

Well said.


While sovereignty of our waters is important to me, be careful about what is reported regarding access to our fishing waters, etc. Fully 80% of the fish the UK fleet catches is from UK waters, and the UK’s fleet is the second largest by capacity in Europe. When you look at all those graphs showing a decline in fishing fleet numbers, bear in mind that those scrapped boats are being replaced by larger and more capable vessels. Also, of the remaining 20% of the UK fleet’s catch nearly all of it is from EU or aligned countries’ (i.e. Norway) waters.… Read more »


The Government is digging in as it is one of the few cards we have, even if it is an extremely weak one. The UK gov is making it look like the fishing is a key debate point, whilst hiding from the problem that they agreed in Boris great deal that we would be aligned with EU policies and now we are trying to pretend it wasn’t in the deal. The whole thing is a mess and Boris handling of the Virus has demonstrated that he is incapable of managing real problems.


Except its the job of the border agency not the coast guard! But don’t let facts get your way.


Ahhh how refreshing to read the views of the tolerant, humanitarian UKDJ contributors. Ermm okay, the views of the tolerant, humanitarian UKDJ contributor! Thank you Steve 🙂

Levi Goldsteinberg

All the better to help the French Navy shepherd Africans to British shores