For more than 15 years, Air Atlantique has been using the Terma surveillance systems to combat oil pollution at sea.
Three new Airborne Surveillance Systems were delivered to Air Atlantique in Coventry, UK, in the past 10 years. The most recent system was delivered in 2002.
For more than 15 years, Air Atlantique has been fighting the oil pollution at sea. Old DC3 aircraft are used for spraying oil slicks with chemicals, when possible, but first the oil polluted area must be identified. This is accomplished with the Terma surveillance system. Air Atlantique has detected oil pollution, traced polluters and assisted in clean-up operations in numerous countries around the world.
The Terma Surveillance System may be installed in small twin engine, as well as larger aircraft. It can include several sensors. The main sensor is the Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) which is able to detect oil pollution at a distance of more than 20 Nautical Miles on each side of the aircraft. This sensor enables one aircraft to cover an enormous area in a short time.
Identification of a polluted area is followed by an examination of the oil slick and, if possible, the tracing of the polluter.
In examining the oil slick more sensors may be employed. The IR/UV-Scanner outlines the exact shape of the spill, but provides little indication of the amount of oil in it. To determine the amount and the location of the thick part of the oil spill, requires the MicroWave Radiometer (MWR). This instrument provides a map of the oil slick, determines the thickness of various areas of the slick, and calculates the total amount of oil in it. Cameras are used (Photo/Video) to provide additional information about the spill.
All images from the sensors are stored, including navigational data, and may be printed out, either in the air or later at a Ground Station. The polluter is not always found, but if he is seen, various cameras may provide photographic evidence for subsequent prosecution. The photographic equipment may include still, video, LLL-Cameras and Night Cameras, but all of themmust provide annotation from the aircraft navigational system, specifying date, time, position, altitude, heading, etc.
The TSCS software is an easy-to-use window program. It is implemented on the Windows NT operating system. The man-machine interface is presented on a high-resolution 20" monitor. This software provides the functionality to handle mission administration and all necessary functions for acquisition and data collection/presentation for all the sensors.The data may be post processed at a ground station. The complete airborne system is delivered in one rack/console in which all cabin equipment is mounted. This configuration allows for easy dismounting of all equipment for maintenance of aircraft or for other configuration of flight. The workstation, as shown in the picture, can be installed in much smaller aircraft's than shown here.
Terma has delivered this kind of system in many areas of the world in the past 20 years, and with intensified focus on the environment in nearly all countries, the demand will increase in the future.