Maritime surveillance is the effective knowledge and understanding of all activities carried out at sea within the territorial waters of a country that could affect the security, safety, economy or environment of that country. Many nations have deployed coastal surveillance systems, which allow coverage of their coastal waters up to a range of 40-50 nautical miles.
Light/medium helicopters are commonly used at ranges of 20-100nm from the coast, which are usually inadequate and costly in search operations. A design was needed to develop an airborne surveillance platform able to explore the area situated between 50-200nm with a low cost of acquisition and extremely low cost per flight hour.
The result is the Tecnam P2006T MRI platform.
Powered by two Rotax 912 four-stroke, four-cylinder engines that can run on autogas, the P2006T offers a patrol endurance of more than six hours, burning just 30 litres/hr.
Tecnam and Airborne Technologies are part of a team led by Spanish technology company Indra (Hangar 1, Stand B1), the largest provider of shore-based maritime surveillance systems worldwide, which is promoting the Tecnam MRI for low-cost, inshore maritime patrol duties. This version of the multimission maritime aircraft features an integrated mission system from Indra with three large screens at the operator console. Sensors consist of an Ultra Force 275 EO/IR turret, automatic identification system transponder and a Selex Galileo Seaspray 5000E AESA search radar. This ITAR-free sensor offers a number of modes, including synthetic aperture radar and moving target indication, and can be used over land as well as at sea. The Tecnam MRI is also fitted with a high-bandwidth line-of-sight datalink that links it to a ground support station. Satellite communications could be added if required.