In 2015, AEC delivered two Stemme ES15 aircraft to the Polish Border Guard, both of which are equipped with AIMS-ISR. The ES15 is a two-seater motorized glider meaning it can be flown with or without the engine running and although this delivers long-endurance (over 8 hours), there is only limited space onboard. To minimize the size and weight of the mission system, AEC took advantage of the fact that CarteNav’s software can be hosted on any Windows®-based hardware and each ES15 uses AIMS-ISR installed on a laptop. AIMS-ISR controls the camera via an Ethernet connection to the laptop; the operator observes the live video and interfaces with AIMS-ISR via the laptop’s touchscreen and keyboard, and the laptop’s memory is used for storing maps and recording the video and mission data.
“The most important part of AEC’s airborne services is the seamless connection with a customer’s existing system. AIMS-ISR provides this link for all of the different missions we fly, delivering the information the customer needs accurately and in the right format.”
Mr. Michael Versteeg
Director, AEC Air Support BV
Flexibility for Maximum Performance
The performance of the mission system is not compromised by having just this single laptop screen because AIMS-ISR allows the operator to resize and position the video, mapping and track panels. Screen layouts optimized for certain task types are saved as profiles and are recalled via a single button press. AIMS-ISR also supports mission planning and review and by hosting AIMS-ISR on a laptop, AEC has enabled the operator to plan and review missions on the ground using the same AIMS-ISR license that conducts the missions. As a result, costs and training overheads are reduced.
The ES15’s primary role is for border patrol but the operators have been quick to see the broader benefits of AIMS-ISR features such as smart address search and Tactical Vision. As a result of this, the aircraft have already extended their role and are supporting urban deployments in Poland such as Police Air Support.
EO/IR Ground Control
Closer to their home, AEC also deliver special mission airborne services to a variety of Dutch government agencies. One of the key discriminators that AEC promote is the ability to use AIMS-ISR to control the camera from the ground. Mr. Michel Versteeg, Director of AEC, described the benefits of this capability: “Sure, with only having the pilot in the air there are fuel savings, but the biggest advantage by far is the increased efficiencies in command and control when the sensor operator is with the rest of the ground team. Tactical decisions are better informed and can be made and communicated
quicker than before.”
Controlling the airborne sensors from the ground is supported by AIMS-ISR’s built-in networking capability. In the air, the pilot uses AIMS-ISR to view the live video, interact with the moving map and to see the various waypoints, overlays, filters and alerts. On the ground, an AIMS-ISR client license networked to the aircraft is used to remotely control the sensors, update the mission plans, support text chat with the pilot as well as provide a comprehensive, interactive and live situational awareness picture to the entire ground team.
AIS Tracking for Moving Maps Situational Awareness
Recently AEC has extended the mission system to include an AIS receiver to monitor ship movements. AIMS-ISR has a flexible, modular architecture enabling it to grow along with the sensor suite without the need to change the core software or user interface. AEC were able to simply download the CarteNav AIS-interface software module and install it on the laptop. The AIS interface worked out of-the-box with AIS tracks being overlaid onto the moving map and the live video, with the additional benefit of being able to slew the camera to, and lock onto, an AIS track in just a couple of button presses.
AEC’s fleet of aircraft also includes Learjet 36 and Aero L-39 fast jets that are used to deliver aerial service contracts, such as Close Air Support, to the Dutch MoD and NATO. This is a rapidly growing business for AEC and Michel Versteeg explained how his team have been able to quickly integrate themselves into the existing infrastructure of these end users. “The capability of AIMS-ISR to be able to upload files from military flight planning software like FalconView makes us instantly interoperable with these customers.”
AEC’s flexibility to deliver different mission types on different aircraft is supported and matched by the flexibility of AIMS-ISR and its ability to be configured by the operator and ensure that all of the different mission types are delivered efficiently and accurately.
About CarteNav Solutions Inc.
CarteNav Solutions Inc. is an international leader in mission and sensor management software solutions for the airborne, land, and maritime environments. CarteNav offers operationally proven software that dramatically improves the performance of both sensor operators and tactical decision makers. The company has established a reputation for providing sought-after and high-value solutions that can be deployed on a wide variety of platforms supporting multiple mission types for a diverse client base that includes government, military, and commercial customers. CarteNav is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Provincial Aerospace Ltd. and is part of the Exchange Income Corporation (EIC) group of companies.