DRDO Navy Maritime Domain Awareness System


India’s 7,500 km long coastline covers approximately 1200 islands, 9 coastal states and 4 Union territories, with an EEZ which extends up to 200 nm, which translates into an area roughly equal to India’s continental landmass. With India’s economic resurgence, maritime trade and the exploration/exploitation of its marine assets are emerging as the key drivers of India’s growth necessitating effective surveillance and monitoring of the coast and blue waters to keep the nation secure and economically strong.


Directorate of Net Centric Operations (DNCO), Indian Navy, envisioned National Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) System for collaboration and exchange of information among the security forces and the myriad agencies associated with the maritime domain to achieve greater transparency in marine environment, to eradicate anomalies and irregularities that occur in the domain. The national MDA process operates on the principles of net-centricity integrating all domestic, public and private maritime stake- holders as well as international efforts and stimulates the process of collective response.


DRDO and Indian Navy are working jointly for the development of MDA in phased manner. MDA system comprises an automated and integrated information system for naval field forces as the central hub of the Navy’s Network Centric Operations (NCO). The objective of the MDA is to provide comprehensive situational picture by collecting, collating and disseminating surveillance and intelligence inputs from various sensors and external systems.


Work content


The system- networks integrates all the external systems and sensors available such as GPS, COTS Radars, AIS, ESM, Color Tactical Display (CTD), ELTA, MSIS, BIUS, UAV at shore establishments and onboard sensors of mobile platforms (ships, submarine and aircraft) and other information systems deployed/available with Indian Navy into one common grid.


Each and every unit is available online at all the times and combined picture being created by the geographically dispersed sensors collectively provides the navy with an enhanced awareness of the maritime picture. This picture is further enhanced by integrating the inputs from sensors of other agencies associated with the maritime domain.


The Common Operational Picture (COP) displays position of Indian Navy war ships and is used for monitoring of merchant ships (Indian as well as foreign origin), foreign war ships, aircraft and sub-surface tracks with detailed information regarding voyage data. It facilitates the end user to assess the battlefield situation with better appreciation of the operational scenario and enables the commanders for informed decision making.


It also provides tools and utilities to facilitate data analysis, tactical operations and naval exercises. System has DSS tools to detect anomalies and irregularities based on the user defined validation criteria and highlight the same to the user to enable effective and timely action. The solution provided also caters for communication security and information security in locations where MDA nodes are deployed.


Salient Features


· Near real-time Common Operational Picture for the shore units of Indian Navy and mobile platforms spread across the globe.

· High performance algorithms for track transmission, fusion, clustering and compression to handle high volume of tracks.

· Near real-time dissemination of analysed information.

· Custom geographical information system suitable for surveillance, tracking of targets and planning of tactical operations.

· System is developed based on the solution, which ensures rugged, reconfigurable, scalable and maintainable architecture.

· Transmission of classified data in encrypted form for wireless communication using Secure Data Adapter (SDA), which works at application layer to ensure the data confidentiality.

Transmission of classified data in encrypted form for wired communication using IP layer encryption system i.e ISG, which caters for Integrity and Confidentiality of data at the network layer.

· DSS tools to detect anomalies and irregularities based on the user defined validation criteria.

· Development using in-house or open-source components and libraries.

· Achievements Vis–A–Vis International Comparison

· Key features of the system are:

· Provides comprehensive Common Operational Pictures.

Provides data analysis tools like traffic analysis and replay.

· Provides planning tools for tactical operations like searches, patrols, air plans and anti- submarine warfare.

· Provides Utilities like messaging, track filter, route, int reports, virtual tracks and wind envelope.

· Interfaces with all onboard sensors and external systems of various maritime stakeholders leading to multi sensor correlation.

· Minimum human intervention and self-sufficient to raise the alarm if any variance is detected from the user defined rules sets.

· Detailed Geographical Information System (GIS) with S-57 chars.

· Secured communication on wired and wireless channels.

· Data segregation for exercises


The MDA System being developed by DRDO constitutes the core of the NCO Prototype as envisaged by Indian Navy for its National MDA programme. It enables the various maritime stakeholders a single platform for effective surveillance and monitoring of the coast which is an imperative factor to keep the nation secure and economically strong.


These maritime stakeholders include Domestic stake-holders in India would include the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, External Affairs, Shipping, Agriculture, Petroleum and Natural Gas; and agencies that include the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard, Marine Police, Customs, Intelligence agencies, Fisheries, Port Authorities, DG Shipping, DGLL, DGCA, ISRO, etc.


However the system can be customized for export to meet the user requirement of specific nation having similar operational requirements of monitoring their maritime domain and achieving maritime surveillance.


Timeline/Major Milestones


The system is deployed at 50+ shore nodes & 200+ mobile units across Indian Navy. It is used for day-to-day operational activities by Indian Navy. It is being used to conduct Navy’s tactical and operational exercises and is operational since 2012.


Current Status


CAIR is working on the development of Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System under Phase 2 of the MDA programme. The system aims at generating a combined synthetic operational picture with feeds from events various sensors and external systems with higher data rates and better performance. The system will reduce continuous human monitoring. It will also make use of data compression algorithms to optimally use the various RF data channels. It will employ various correlation and clustering algorithms for intuitive data visualization.


Way Forward


In Phase 3 CAIR would provide various DSS tools to achieve Net Centric Operations along with Integrated Coastal Surveillance. AI-based DSS tools will be able to detect any anomalies and irregularities that occur in the domain


Source – DRDO News Letter January 2019 Volume 39 | Issue 1:ISSN: 0971-4391

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