Nation Uses Sensor to Take Aim at Pirates

By Eric Beidel
An island country off the east coast of Africa has turned to an L-3 Communications imaging system for help in its fight against pirates.

The Republic of Seychelles is using an MX-15 sensor to keep watch on surrounding waters in the Indian Ocean. The system features a thermal imager, daylight spotter and zoom TV. It also comes equipped with a wide-angle laser illuminator, which can help identify subjects at long range and in total darkness. The country is using the MX-15 on board a Twin Otter aircraft.

Increasing piracy in surrounding waters prompted the Seychelles defense forces to obtain equipment that could operate day, night and in extreme weather conditions, said Paul Jennison, vice president of sales and business development at L-3’s division of airborne laser, surveillance and targeting systems.

The MX-15 allows for hands-off operation, locking onto a subject by latitude and longitude. The sensor then follows the target regardless of aircraft movement and obstructions in its line-of-sight.

Seychelles in 2010 successfully prosecuted a piracy case for the first time in its history. Eleven Somali pirates in skiffs attacked one of the republic’s coast guard patrol ships with automatic weapons. The pirates each were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Topics: Homeland Security, MaritimePort Security, Science and Engineering Technology

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