The Israeli aircraft helps Nigeria in stamping out piracy

Bird Aearosystems from Herzliya, Israel, has recently revealed that its mission aircraft, equipped with cutting-edge intelligence and surveillance systems, are included in the Deep Blue project. The project, held by the Nigerian government, is part of the efforts to tackle the piracy phenomenon along the coast and protect seacraft and merchant ships in Nigeria’s territorial waters. As a result, Nigeria was recently removed from the International Bargaining Forum’s (IBF) list of states classified as high-risk maritime nations. 

The Gulf of Guinea, which is surrounded by 20 countries, including Nigeria, is considered a global piracy hot spot, where almost half of the worldwide marine robbery attacks are committed. These attacks, carried out by armed groups, include merchant ship robberies, smuggling, oil theft, illegal fishing, and crew kidnapping. The multitude of attacks in the Gulf severely damages Africa’s economy, as it is a main trade route between the continent and the rest of the world. Experts estimate the financial damage resulting from piracy to be around $2 billion for the countries around the Gulf.

The Deep Blue initiative, designed to safeguard Nigeria’s territorial waters up to the Gulf of Guinea, was introduced by the Nigerian government in 2021 in an effort to address the issue. The Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Ground Military, Police, and Security Services were brought together under the umbrella of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to carry out the project’s objectives. This project is the first of its kind in Western Africa, and if it is successful, other countries suffering from piracy may embrace it.

The combined force consists of 16 armored vehicles for coastal patrol, 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, two designated ships, 17 speed boats, two intelligence and surveillance mission planes, three helicopters, and two drones. In addition, a Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) was established.

One of Bird Aerosystems’ operation lines is tailoring mission aircraft (ASIO) for border protection, patrol, and surveillance. The company provided two Cessna Citation CJ3 converted to maritime patrol aircraft for the Deep Blue project. Both airplanes are equipped with Bird’s mission-management and intelligence-gathering systems, which allow for combining data from aerial, marine, and ground sources and planning for missions based on multi-layer intelligence. Bird recently carried out a live demonstration of the system for the Nigerian government.

Bird Aerosystems enters the Land Solutions market

Bird Aerosystems from Hertzeliya, Israel, specialized in airborne defense and vision systems, will announce its entrance into the Land systems market during the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris. The company unveils multi-sensors, light weight detector for active protection systems on armored vehicles, and miniature airborne radar for small aerial unmanned platforms that will be used for border and maritime protection. The expansion into the land systems market is supported by the FIMI fund, the controlling shareholder of the company. In this framework, the Bird Land Systems division was founded, managed by Yoav Kabiri, formerly IAF and MOD person.

Shaul Mazor, VP Marketing at Bird Aerosystems, explains to Techtime that this is a strategic move: “We have invested many resources in developing the new products, where the focus was on miniaturization – one of Bird’s expertises. Now we have another base for our activity. The new solutions brought us to work not only with end-clients, but also with manufacturers such as UAVs and vehicles”. The new solutions are based on existing Bird’s radar, optics and algorithms technologies, originally developed for its combat-proven airborne systems.   

Land versions of aerial protection system

The Hybrid-Eye system is designed as a detection, confirmation and threat tracking in active protection system on armored vehicles and border stations. It provides an answer to a wide range of threats such as anti-tank missiles, RPG’s, drones and artillery shells. The system combines, within a single 4kg unit, three types of sensors: Phased array electrical radar (solid state), multiple IR warning detectors and a Laser warning detector. It is designed to be installed on ground vehicles of all sizes and is fully compatible with interception system (Hard-Kill and Soft-Kill).   

The algorithmics performs fusion between the sensors, which provides it with the ability to fully operate in all terrain and all sight conditions. The Hybrid-Eye and the fusion technology are based on Bird’s flagship product, SPREOS, which provides protection against Directional Infrared Countermeasures missiles (DIRCM). “When we adjusted the SPREOS technology for land, we dramatically minimized both weight and costs. Sensors fusion is being performed at the single-pixel level, and makes it possible to deal with a variety of disturbances that characterizes the land, such as haze, light reflections and heavy vehicles such as tanks that block the sight”. 

New maritime radar

The second solution, µMPR, is miniature maritime patrol radar based on Bird’s proprietary technology and millimeter-wave (mmW) technology to cut through sea clutter. It weighs only 6-7kg, and provides a 40km coverage range. It is designed to be installed on small aerial unmanned platforms, small helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, in order to provide effective protection throughout maritime and land borders. “This nee radar provides greater coverage range, relatively to its size. It provides an answer to a large market share that currently has no solution: lightweight radars with high performance, mainly for unmanned vehicles”. There is already first client, showing interest in Bird’s µMPR radar.


BIRD Aerosystems to deliver its AMPS to a Customer in Africa

The israeli BIRD Aerosystems, which develops Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Special Mission Aircraft Solutions (ASIO), has won a contract for the delivery and installation of its AMPS-MLRD solution, that includes the patented SPREOS DIRCM, on a customer VIP and Military aircraft in Africa.

AMPS-MLRD missile protection system provides the most enhanced protection for military and civilian aircraft against the growing threat of ground to air missiles including MANPADS, Laser guided threats, and Radar guided threats. The system is designed to automatically detect, verify, and foil SAM attacks through the effective use of countermeasure decoys (Flares and Chaff) and additionally by Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) that jam the missile’s IR seeker and protects the aircraft. The AMPS-MLRD includes BIRD Aerosystems’ SPREOS, a patented DIRCM system that provides Missile Verification, Tracking, and Jamming.

As part of the program, all aircraft will be installed with the SPREOS (Self Protection Radar Electro-Optic System) that combines a Semi-Active Dual Band Radar and Directional IR Countermeasure. Queued by the Missile Warning Sensors, SPREOS points towards the suspected threat, performs a Doppler based interrogation to confirm the existence of a valid threat, and extract its key parameters. In addition, SPREOS precisely tracks and points an advanced 5ht generation solid-state Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) towards the threat for the most effective jamming of the missile while continually assessing the jamming effectiveness.

Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at BIRD Aerosystems: “After a careful examination process, the customer chose BIRD Aerosystems’ SPREOS and the AMPS-MLRD to protect its VIP and military fleet. BIRD Aerosystems’ AMPS with the SPREOS DIRCM makes it possible to identify and intercept high-velocity threat attacks such as enemy MANPADS and eliminate all of the systems False Alarms. Being the most advanced protection solution in the market today, SPREOS enables our customers to detect threats in a way that has never been possible before, ensuring optimal aircraft protection tailored to defeat each specific threat.”

BIRD Aerosystems is a privately-owned company established in 2001 and based in Israel. The company specializes in developing and deploying two main product lines: Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Airborne Surveillance, Information and Observation (ASIO) solutions.

BIRD’s field-proven AMPS family of solutions provides complete protection against all known Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), including MANPADS, Laser Beam Rider threats, and radar-guided missiles. The company’s ASIO solution offers decision-makers and field commanders accurate, real-time terrestrial and maritime information that enhances situational awareness.

Combining in-depth knowledge of airborne operational requirements along with continuous innovations that drive the development of new and advanced airborne products and solutions, BIRD provides turn-key programs that include operational analysis, system design, system integration and installation, project management, extended product support, and a broad range of system engineering activities including ground testing, flight testing, and system certification.

BIRD Aerosystems’ solutions are in wide-scale, long-term use by some of the world’s largest commercial, governmental, military, and transnational organizations – including NATO, UN Air Operations, the US Government, Airbus and other major aircraft manufacturers, and many others.