Monaco-based MARSS has completed the installation of its NiDAR perimeter security system on the first of six offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The installation is part of a contract awarded by Malaysia’s Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), which will see the company carry out the design, integration, delivery, installation and commissioning of its NiDAR 360° air, surface and underwater anti-intruder security system on-board the navy vessels.
Powered by proprietary software, NiDAR delivers enhanced situational awareness by integrating multiple sensor and data feeds to generate a 360° perimeter security shield around the asset. MARSS’ NiDAR is a modern long-range surveillance system that can protect naval vessels and land-baseent.”
The security system integrates near and long range surveillance with deterrents into one intelligent domain awareness picture.This enables it to automatically detect and warn operators of the presence of divers, underwater vehicles and small fast-moving surface intruders. In addition, the technology integrates diver detection sonars, thermal imaging cameras and sensor feeds from the vessels’ onboard radar, and is also equipped with non-lethal deterrents. The company is expected to operate the NiDAR system via its intuitive command and control (C2) interface from multiple fixed and mobile command stations.
MARSS NiDAR C2 system
MARSS has introduced a new version of its NiDAR command and control system to link multiple small and medium sized mobile platforms together, the company announced on 6 July. The new system is designed to support operators of multiple small tactical platforms in surveillance, border control, coastguard, critical asset protection and special forces roles.
NiDAR can be fitted to any fleet of light vehicles, vessels or UAS, including fast patrol boats, light tactical ground vehicles and light aircraft, transforming them into a fully networked mobile tactical surveillance system. A common surveillance picture can be accessed and controlled from any one designated platform or via a command centre. The system integrates multiple sensors including cameras, radar, sonar, communications and blue force tracker inputs, enabling the operator to detect and monitor known and unknown air, surface and underwater objects.
Rob Balloch, VP Sales for MARSS said: ‘The reason we are so excited about this development of NiDAR is that it is the first lightweight command and control system that allows you to integrate all surveillance assets into one tactical picture. ‘Whether that’s sonar on a patrol boat, the radar on a light patrol vehicle or the electro-optics on an unmanned aerial vehicle, they can all be controlled and coordinated from one designated asset and the information instantaneously shared across all other platforms. It is what the military call a force multiplier; giving small platforms big platform capability.’
It features are customisable alarm zones. Multi air, surface and underwater target detection and tracking up to 20km above and 1.5km below the surface. Land and surface intruder detection is achieved by integrating radar, daylight and infrared cameras, plus vehicle and vessel tracking up to 20km from the asset. Diver and mini-submarine detection is provided up to 1.5km underwater. It provides automated deployment of countermeasures. Non-lethal countermeasures including searchlights, laser dazzlers and loudhailers can be deployed automatically or manually to deter threats.
“The inspiration for our yacht systems actually came from a European Union-funded project that we were leading, together with NATO and commercial shipping,” explains MARSS founder and CEO Johannes Pinl. “It was originally touted for commercial shipping to protect critical assets – cruise ships, oil platforms and ports, for example – against terrorist attacks following 9/11.”
NiDAR takes inputs from third-party equipment and sensors such as radar, cameras and sonar, adds in some MARSS-developed sensors and hardware, and then processes the information using intelligent algorithms specially developed by the MARSS team of software engineers. It is this intelligence that is key to the NiDAR system. “Common sensors like radar and cameras are rather useless for security unless you have an operator sitting in front of them 24/7,” says Pinl. “This obviously doesn’t happen on a yacht – for a yacht it needs to be fully automatic and it needs to be intelligent, and that’s where we come in. The system we developed with NATO is intelligent and is based on moving patterns, video analytics and other elements to identify whether a situation is a potential security threat or not, and then to alert the operator only when needed and avoid false alarms.” That latter point is also important, says Pinl, because too many false alarms means crew will reach for the off switch – not ideal when it comes to security monitoring.