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Surveillance

TFASA supplies specialised and professional surveillance capabilities to satisfy the growing need for surveillance services within the Southern African area of operations. TFASA aircrew was part of SAAF Maritime Development programs with all the associated equipment required for complex maritime surveillance operations.

The coastlines of Southern Africa, in particular the West Coast of Southern Africa, is an extremely rich and productive marine resource, but geography and practical constraints caused good surveillance to have been rarely practiced in most cases. Offshore and onshore air surveillance has been cursory and in many countries sea inspections, arrests and prosecutions have not been possible. Moreover, most States are unaware of the extent of illegal or unreported fishing, or of the nature and extent of fishing being carried out in their EEZs. Significant losses due to poaching and unscrupulous operators have been increasingly registered by the nations concerned, and pressure is increasing to police and protect such resources.

TFASA was instrumental in the procurement and clearing to service of two prototype maritime surveillance aircraft which are currently used in the USA under contract by, among others, the US coast Guard. Other experiences include contracts to define the technical requirements for a very capable maritime patrol aircraft based on a Dornier 228 equipped with search radar, infrared and low light TV sensors, high bandwidth data link and a wide range of radio communications equipment. The work also involved the subsequent testing and certification of the aircraft and systems before introducing it into service.

TFASA has its own avionics development specialists with the ability to define functional requirements, specify equipment performance, design and develop the system architecture, procure and integrate the hardware and software and test, develop and certify the final product.

One option for an efficient surveillance aircraft is the Ikarus C42 light sport aircraft. The C42 is a two-seater light aircraft with endurance in excess of 8 hours with exceptional performance flying qualities and stealth. Ideally suited to onshore and littoral surveillance work, TFASA have ensued the Ikarus with great success in previous and current surveillance operations, with the surveillance carried out by a legally valid crew supported by an onboard infrared tracking sensor. The main benefits of this aircraft for this task are the low operating costs (i.e. one eighth of those of a helicopter) the stealth qualities in terms of noise, size and visibility, which makes it hard for the poachers to detect and avoid. Visibility from the cockpit is outstanding and crew comfort is excellent as proved during surveillance sorties ranging between 6 and 8 hours at a time. Substantial successes were achieved in close inshore operations overhead Dyer Island and Bird Island and along the coast, specifically targeting perlemoen and crayfish poaching. Other surveillance work has been carried out overland in support of Police operations.

TFASA’s in-house avionic and sensor systems skills provide the capability to develop a sensor package and integrate it into any airframe of choice for a specific customer’s requirements. This capability will be used shortly to fit a modular surveillance system into TFASA’s Learjet, thus providing the capability to cover larger areas of surveillance interest at high speed.

For further information, please contact ulf@tfasa.co.za to discuss your specific requirements.

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