Maritime Surveillance

Reliable Services Supporting Maritime Safety

Airbus Defence and Space supports shipping and insurance companies, OGM firms, National Authorities  private security forces and environmental protection agencies with timely and accurate information to ensure the safety and efficiency of maritime activities around the globe.

Global Challenges to Maritime Security

Maritime security is of utmost importance today with more than 90% of the world’s trade goods and more than 70% of global crude oil transported by sea. As shipping traffic grows, the pressure on the security of the world’s oceans is increasing: not only is there more likelihood of accidents and associated environmental damage, shipping traffic is also increasingly the target of piracy, organised crime and terrorism. Moreover, illegal maritime activities such as illegal fishing, drug trafficking, weapon movement/proliferation and illegal immigration are constantly on the rise.
Maritime activities are also expanding into the Arctic regions with growing traffic in the ice-infested waters of the Northeast and Northwest Passage, and oil and gas platforms set up to exploit the huge reservoirs of resources in the Arctic. These activities rely on detailed and timely ice information to support safe and effective operations.


All these activities increase the pressure on the marine environment and the demand for reactive imagery, early-warning capabilities and reliable monitoring services to:

  • Better know activity on an area (EZZ & more)
  • Detect patterns of illegal behaviours at sea: ollegal fishing, narco-traffic, immigration, maritime pollution, piracy)
  • Trap catching in act traffickers
  • Support Defence missions: intelligence, operations at sea


Dependable Monitoring of the World’s Oceans

Based on a constellation combining radar and optical satellites, Airbus Defence and Space provides the most comprehensive/efficient answer for maritime monitoring services by building the meaningful solution for wide coverage, fine detail, intensive monitoring, reliable and successful new collections, premium reactivity and interpretation response.
Unique on the industry, this reactive observation capacity, allow Airbus Defence and Space to activate and combine the appropriate satellites when needed to:

  • Detect more ships

      - Radar can see whatever the weather conditions are
      - Optical Sensors can detect smaller, wooden and fiber boats
      - Large spectrum of available resolutions allow to refine any analysis from detection to classification and identification

  • On a wider theater

      - Huge daily collection thanks to SPOT6/7 (100.000 in a single pass) and TerraSAR-X (400.000 in a single acquisition)wider acquisition modes
      - Multisensor tasking strategy to make the best use of available collection capacity ( Dedicating individual sensors to a sub part of the area to widen the monitored area)

  • More Frequently

      - Enable a situation understanding several times a day by leveraging all sensors to afford daily and even intra-daily revisit
      - Different satellite pass along the day (radar satellites passing at 6AM or 6PM, optical ones in the frame of 10 -11 PM)


Best in class satellites mobilized

Not only one satellite imagery provider can bring so much to answer all maritime surveillance need. Whatever you want to detect, monitor or track, Airbus Defense and Space can trigger the appropriate satellite or combine all the Armada/fleet to provide you with the meaningful solution.

SPOT 6 & 7  Twins

Key features for Maritime Surveillance activity Benefits
60 km swath
& Over-The-Top Agility
Ideal for wide area surveillance
Acquisitions of 100,000 in a single pass of contiguous segments
1.5m products - Easy identification of big ships (cargos, tankers, ferry boats)
- Easy detection of medium to small ships (fishing boats, go fasts, speed boats, sailing boats and small wooden / rubber / fiber boats, tug boats, skifs, mother ships, dhows…)
Daily Revisit To allow rapid access to target, Intensive monitoring or very large areas completed in a flash
Stereo capacity To enable speed assessment and direction


Pléiades Constellation

Key features for Maritime Surveillance activity Benefits
20 km swath
& Over-The-Top Agility
Best coverage capacity in a single pass in this class of resolution:
Up to 100 x 150
0.5m products Ideal for identification of small boats such as fishing boats, go fasts, speed boats, sailing boats and small wooden / rubber / fiber boats, tug boats, skifs, mother ships, dhows...
Daily Revisit 1, Rapid access to target – 2, Intensive monitoring – 3, Very large areas completed in a flash
Stereo capacity Enabling speed assessment and direction




Key features for Maritime Surveillance activity Benefits
Wide Scan SAR Mode Up to 400,000 within a single acquisition anywhere and independently of weather conditions
0.25m to 40m resolution products at 40m resolution and with a 270 km swath, Wide Scan SAR images are the best tradeoff between coverage and resolution the industry can offer today and suits perfectly to:
- monitor ship traffic & maritime assets
- detect oil spills
- detect and track ice on northern routes
- the new Staring SPOTLight mode at the unprecedented resolution of 0.25m reveals crucial details for IMINT and GEOINT applications and allows to go beyond detection, to classification and even ship identification.
X band Reliable Detection and Tracking of Sea Ice
Revisit The future TarraSAR-X / PAZ constellation (2014) will allow increase revisit rate and will bring AIS sensor on board, enabling to discriminate reporting vs. Non reporting boats on the spot


See Also...

Maritime Surveillance