Interview with Ben Hayes, part of the Transnational Institute series in the run up to the ASEM (Asia-Europe) summit and parallel AEPF (Asia Europe People’s Forum) in Brussels next month. See also Susan George interview, “European Union: most anti-democratic and neoliberal in history”.

What is the history of the European Union’s security strategy?

Security is one of the newest areas for the EU, as it didn’t have an overarching security policy until 2003. The strategy it adopted is called “A Secure Europe in a Better World”. It argued that Europe needed to change its way of looking at security. It needed to move from a traditional framework of looking at defence from attack that came from the time of the Cold War to being able to take on a whole new range of threats from organised crime to terrorism to uncontrolled migration.

The EU, it said, needed to take on a strategic security culture, accepting that the first line of defence will often be abroad, intervening in failed states, taking proactive measures, developing security infrastructure. It was in many ways neocon-lite.  Politically, the main reason for the strategy was to justify a whole EU apparatus to do this.

What has this meant militarily?

People talked about a European army, and there were was talk of setting up battlegroups, but this has not got off the ground. There are 1.8 million soldiers in the EU member states (half a million more than the US) but – with the exception of Kosovo – the EU has not proved able to deploy even a 5000 person rapid reaction force. The EU has so far launched 22 security and crisis management operations, but only six have involved more than 1000 personnel.

NATO remains the dominant framework for military security in EU. Nearly all military missions are in some way dependent on US giving logistical support and most EU countries are happy to do that through NATO.

Would a European military framework be better than a NATO-based one?

There is an argument saying European values would be better represented in a European alternative framework, but there is a far more convincing argument that international policing should be done via the UN rather than the unilateral actions of a few powerful states or regional blocks.

The continued dominance of NATO, which has no democratic structure, is more  reflective of the fact that NATO states want to go it alone.

What elements of the European security strategy have been taken forward?

Within Europe, the focus has been all about counter-terrorism and border control, which has been used as a pretext to introduce surveillance policies that would have been unthinkable in the 1990s. Fingerprinting, communications surveillance, travel records, financial transactions – we now have mandatory surveillance on an unprecedented scale. Frameworks for global surveillance developed with the USA have also been set-up.

Outside Europe the main priority has been joint working on migration, in other words, trying to prevent illegal immigration by stopping immigrants in countries of origin or in countries of transit. This has taken the form of technical assistance, with many states in North and West Africa receiving help in shoring up borders, setting up asylum systems and detention centres, training border police in coastal areas – all to prevent departure from Africa to Europe. There has been a huge effort by the EU and its member states to make developing countries accept migration management clauses as part of trade or aid agreements, which are measures to prevent departure as well as obligations to take back illegal migrants.

In terms of investment, the EU has decided that it wants European companies to compete in the global marketplace for homeland security which is expanding rapidly into a market worth hundreds of billions of Euros. So the European Commission is providing subsidies for companies, mainly arms and IT companies along with some specialists and academics, to conduct research into technologies that will supposedly make us safer. Most of this research has surveillance systems at its core and includes companies who have been involved in arms deals that have resulted in human rights abuses.

I reviewed all of these security research projects for the report I wrote last year, NeoConOpticon: the EU Security-industrial Complex, and one of the most disturbing projects was one which funded research into combat robots for border control. Supposedly unarmed robots would be sent to intersect with people crossing borders illegally. The Polish and Israeli companies that received the funds do produce combat robots and drones. Much of the EU security research funding are subsidies for arms companies to put their wares in the EU shop window.

What are the consequences of the new approaches to security?

The easiest way of describing the EU or US overall approach is that security is starting to eclipse the rule of law. Policing used to be about responding to criminal acts; now it is all pre-emptive – maintaining security. and preventing crime, which makes its reach limitless. Under the guise of preventing terrorism, states have been able to introduce blanket controls with very little consideration of human rights. This has created big challenges for citizens who are keen to protect civil liberties or prevent criminalisation of social movements.

The huge expansion of targeted assassinations using drones, which is also a big area for European research, is an example of complete disregard for the rule of law. Rendition, torture and the use of secret prisons, all of which continue despite Obama’s arrival, amount to the same thing. The US and UK are the only ones using armed drones at the moment, but what happens when other states with less checks and balances start to use the same method to target their “enemies”?

Where does climate change fit into the EU security strategy?

Climate change is a slightly newer issue. In 2008, the EU came up with “Climate Change and International Security” strategy, which identified climate change as a threat multiplier, one that would exacerbate existing tensions and that could lead to political security risks that would directly threaten European interests. The strategy also pointed to statistics that suggested that the resulting environmental refugees could create massive human migration. The strategy stops short of saying what it will do about this, but it is likely to be a continuation of the current programme of preventing refugees leaving and outsourcing border control to Southern countries.

What should European security policy focus on?

What European security policy lacks is a focus on peace-building or conflict resolution strategies. It has done nothing, for example, to advance effective resolution of conflicts in the Middle East. The EU could garner support – and be seen as a counterbalance to US global military power – if it invested in these areas but it doesn’t. Instead it follows the US in pursuing a hard security doctrine that doesn’t address most causes of insecurity.

On migration issues, for example, why is there so little on why people migrate in the first place? Migration is a logical part of globalisation. So if we want to address the reasons people leave and respond in a non punitive way, we have to look at the conditions that force people to leave in the first place. Unless the EU changes track, we are heading the same way as Arizona.

How does Asia fit into European security policy? Will security issues come up in the ASEM summit?

I think the EU is primarily concerned with economic cooperation at the ASEM summit, although there may be some dialogue on security issues and the usual predictable declarations on fighting terrorism and organised crime. I know that the EU has provided counter terrorism assistance to Indonesia and  the Philippines. Sri Lanka was also one of EU’s targeted countries to prevent EU migration at source.

Beyond that European transnational companies will be hoping to cash in on the growing homeland security demands in countries like Malaysia and India. Most of this will be done bilaterally, as we have seen with the recent UK-India arms deal.

What do you think social movements should focus on during the upcoming AEPF?

I think the obvious priority is the way the focus on security is being used against protest movements and continues to be done so. We need to challenge the homeland security industry – who have become rich and powerful as a result of the outsourcing of the War on Terror and which one day could rival the military industrial complex. They have an interest in the endless expansion of the security-industrial complex, which has very serious implications for way the society is policed, and worrying implications for protest movements. While there are people within movements focused and working on this, I don’t think security and civil liberties at forums such as the European Social Forum or World Social Forum are high enough up the agenda.

Source: http://www.tni.org/interview/eu-security-industrial-complex

Drone Wars is a one day conference in London on September 18th to explore the growing use of armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones.

Armed drones are used by Britain, US and others at great human cost and often in breach of humanitarian law. Used in war and for targeted killings this technology is being used by the UK with little public debate. Join other peace activists and researchers to investigate how to down the drones.

See: http://www.for.org.uk/act/campaign/ for more information.

A month after a senior UN official condemned the CIA drone strike programme as creating a “PlayStation mentality” that could spread to other countries, Janes has reported that UK unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in Afghanistan have reached a new high.

In the six months to May 2010, the British Army’s Elbit Systems Hermes 450 and Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk 3 flew “nearly 9,000 hours combined in just over 4,500 sorties”. UK forces have also reportedly launched attacks using armed drones over 80 times since May 2008, yet all requests for information on their use and resulting civilian casualty figures have so far been refused.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council published on 3 June 2010, Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings accused the US of inventing a “law of 9/11” to issue the CIA with a “licence to kill” that, if copied by other countries, could lead to “chaos”.

The secretive programme has already killed hundreds of people, many in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Alston also criticised those “intelligence agencies, which by definition are determined to remain unaccountable except to their own paymasters” and “have no place in running programmes that kill people in other countries”.

Combat UAV unveiled

Regardless, as the Financial Times reported, “Robot wars came a step closer after BAE Systems unveiled the UK’s first unmanned aircraft that can pilot itself and strike targets as far away as Afghanistan”.

A Taranis drone robot
BAE’s “Taranis” UAV is named after the Celtic god of thunder

Taranis is equipped to attack ground targets and can be controlled from anywhere in the world via satellite communications. Costing £142.5 million, it was developed by an industry team made up of BAE, Rolls-Royce, Qinetiq and GE Aviation, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.

Taranis “is a prelude to the next generation of fighting capability”, said Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of programmes and support at BAE. “If we are not on top of that, there will be no future for UK aircraft capability.”

Air Chief Marshal Simon Bryant, commander-in-chief of the Royal Air Force’s Air Command organisation, said the primary aim of Taranis was “to inform decisions of our future”. It provides an insight into “the art of the possible”. A future unmanned combat aerial vehicle could meet the key operating needs of the three services, covering control of the air, attack and intelligence and situational awareness, he suggested.

Surveillance goes green

BAE has also unveiled its “Phantom Eye” hydrogen-powered spy plane, which can fly non-stop for up to four days. Boeing says the aircraft could eventually carry out “persistent intelligence and surveillance”.


BAE’s “Phantom Eye” hydrogen-powered spy plane

The “Phantom Eye” was somewhat overshadowed, however, by Qinetic’s “Zephyr” solar-powered plane, which smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Project manager Jon Saltmarsh told BBC News that “Zephyr is basically the first ‘eternal aircraft”.


Zephyr: a solar-powered high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) UAV

And if all that isn’t enough, check-out some of the “microdrones” on show at this “Special Operations Forces Industry Conference” in the States.

Article by David Cronin from IPS news, reproduced in full here

EU Considering Aid to Israeli Military

BRUSSELS, Jun 18, 2010 (IPS) – A leading Israeli supplier of warplanes used to kill and maim civilians in Gaza is in the running for two new scientific research grants from the European Union.

Israel’s attacks on Gaza in late 2008 and 2009 provided its air force with an opportunity to experiment with state-of-the-art pilotless drones such as the Heron. Although human rights groups have calculated that the Heron and other drones killed at least 87 civilians during that three-week war, EU officials have tentatively approved the release of fresh finance to the Heron’s manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Two projects involving IAI have recently passed the evaluation stages of a call for proposals under the EU’s multi-annual programme for research, which has been allocated 53 billion euros (65.4 billion dollars) for the 2007-13 period.

The Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, has confirmed that IAI is one of 34 Israeli “partners” involved in 26 EU-funded projects for information technology which are under preparation.

Among the other Israeli firms being considered for such funding are Afcon, a supplier of metal detectors to military checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Erez crossing between southern Israel and Gaza. Afcon was also awarded a contract in 2008 for installing a security system in a light rail project designed to connect illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem with the city centre.

Mark English, a Commission spokesman, said that the procedures relating to the projects have not yet been completed. But the Israeli business publication Globes reported last month that Israeli firms stand to gain 17 million euros from the latest batch of EU grants for information technology. According to Globes, this will bring the amount that Israel has drawn from the EU’s research programme since 2007 to 290 million euros.

Israel is the main foreign participant in the EU’s science programme. Officials in Tel Aviv say they expect Israeli firms and research institutes will have received around 500 million euros from the programme by the time of its conclusion.

Chris Davies, a British Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament (MEP), expressed anger at how the Commission’s research department appears willing to rubber-stamp new grants for Israeli companies. Such a “business-as-usual” approach is at odds with tacit assurances from officials handling the EU’s more general relations with Israel, he said.

In late 2008, the EU’s 27 governments agreed to an Israeli request that the relationship should be “upgraded” so that Israel could have a deeper involvement in a wide range of the Union’s activities. But work on giving formal effect to that agreement has stalled because of the subsequent invasion of Gaza.

Approving EU finance for Israel Aerospace Industries “should be regarded as utterly unacceptable, incoherent and outrageously naive,” Davies told IPS. He argued that there appears to be “no communication” between different sets of EU representatives on how Israel should be handled. “Where’s the joined-up thinking?” he asked.

While the European Commission claims that all of its scientific research cooperation with Israel is civilian in nature, the Israeli government has been eager to publicise the almost umbilical links between the country’s thriving technology sector and its military. A brochure titled ‘Communications in Israel’ published by its industry ministry earlier this year refers to a “symbiosis” between the security and technology sectors in Israel. Several technology breakthroughs – such as the invention of voice recognition devices for computers by the Israeli army in the 1980s – have resulted from this “convergence”, the brochure claims.

Other likely Israeli beneficiaries of the new round of EU funding do not conceal how they have benefited from this convergence either. The Israeli subsidiary of SAP, the software manufacturer, has issued publications about how it has provided specialist equipment for the Israeli army. And both Emza and LiveU, two “start-up” companies, are examples of the numerous makers of surveillance equipment in Israel that have seen their order books fill up since the country tried to position itself as an indispensable part of the “war on terror” declared by former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Marcel Shaton, head of the Israel-Europe Research and Development Directorate (ISERD) in Tel Aviv, said that EU citizens should not have any qualms about financing Israeli arms companies. “All research supports the arms industry,” he said. “Non-military technology is used for military purposes all over the world.”

But Yasmin Khan, a specialist on the arms trade with the anti-poverty group War on Want, said that the EU has been complicit in the occupation of Palestine through its support for Israel’s military industry.

She noted that drones made by IAI and other Israeli companies have been bought by several European countries taking part in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. “The military industry is a central point of the Israeli economy,” she said. “The equipment it makes is sold as ‘battle-tested’, which is a dark way of describing its use in the occupied (Palestinian) territories.” (END)


A Harfang UAV at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan

Further evidence of the EU’s unswerving commitment to the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or pilotless ‘drone’ planes) into European airspace has emerged in recent weeks. The European Commission, however, is yet to issue as much as a single communication explaining the EU’s UAV programme or setting out policy options for the member states.  So much for openness and transparency.

At present, drones/UAVs are only permitted to operate in ‘segregated airspace’ for military operations because of fears about public safety. Manned aircraft operating in commercial airspace are subject to stringent air traffic control safety regulations; those promoting UAV’s have yet to convince regulators of their safety (see the second comment in this post for a list of notable accidents). Last week the UK Civil Aviation Authority grounded an unlicensed Merseyside Police drone following the Force’s boast that it had been used to track down a car thief.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has just awarded a contract to the European defence giant EADS and its subsidiary Astrium, Europe’s largest space company, to lead a six-month feasibility study demonstrating the safety of UAVs in civil airspace. EADS, the self-proclaimed “leading manufacturer of UAVs in Europe”, will use a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV in the attempt to convince regulators, while Astrium will provide the satellite-based services “needed to operate the UAVs safely in civil airspace”. EADS and Astrium already use this technology in Afghanistan, where the French air force have deployed one of their Harfang UAVs.

According to ASDNews, the consortium will meet key European civil and military stakeholders during the study in order to “receive their endorsements on safety and regulatory policy, and on future applications”. ASDNews also predicts that upon completion of the study, the EDA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will jointly fund a full demonstration programme. One wonders when, if ever, the European Parliament or the member states will be formally consulted?

“The outcome of this study will further reinforce our capability to propose leading-edge and secured solutions to our customers” said Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Military Air Systems, an integrated Business Unit of EADS Defence & Security. Like the European Defence Agency, FRONTEX is also doing its bit for UAVs and will host an event in Spain for manufacturers this coming June.

See previous posts on this topic:

Two upcoming international conferences on the theme of border controls showcase the people, organisations and corporations building the state apparatuses of the future – but who is holding them to account?

Border Security 2010 is a commercial venture of the SMI Group on “land, air and maritime border security issues” that also has a counter-terrorism and public order focus. The event is sponsored by a host of defence and Homeland Security companies and takes place in Rome on 3-4 March 2010, following “sell out events in Istanbul in 2008, and Warsaw in 2009”.

Keynote speakers include Edgar Beugels (Head of Research and Development Unit, Frontex), Keith Best, (UK Immigration Advisory Service) and Thomas Tass (Executive Director, Borderpol). The conference also includes presentations on:

  • The EFFISEC project (an FP7 project on checkpoint security)
  • ‘Border Violence’ (brought to you by the European office of the Department of Homeland Security)
  • EADS National Security Programme for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Uses for unmanned aerial systems [drones etc.] in Border Security Operations
  • Security Planning and Technological Application in International Major Events: The Italian G8 Summit Experience
  • NATO’s International Border Security Agenda
  • Biometric Technologies for Border Processing (from the EU-funded European Biometrics Forum)
  • Analysis of the Mumbai Terror Attacks
  • UK National Security & UK Maritime Security
  • See full programme (pdf)

For its 2011 event SMI plans “a special focus on the use of border management technologies” with “special insights into how different surveillance technologies are being used to aid decision making and improve security at all levels”. Heralding a new era of government by robot, ‘Border Security 2011’ will consider “how far the human factor is being replaced and what your role will be in the 21st century environment”.

This theme is taken up by the second event. Towards E-Borders: The impact of new technologies on border controls in the EU takes place at the Academy of European law in Trier on 22-23 April 2010. The seminar will “take stock of the use and the impact of new technologies on EU borders” and the “role of Frontex and Europol”. Speakers include:

  • Erik Berglund (Director of Capacity Building Division, Frontex Agency, Warsaw)
  • Roland Genson (Director, Police and Customs Cooperation, Schengen Directorate, General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, Brussels)
  • Julie Gillis and Ian Neill (Director and deputy, e-Borders Programme, UK)
  • Jean-Dominique Nollet, Head of Analysis, Serious Crime Department, Europol)
  • Frank Paul (Head of Unit, Large-scale IT-systems and Biometrics, Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission)

You can't appeal to robots for mercy or empathy - or punish them afterwards

Two interesting articles examining the development and implementation of combat robots of various sorts were published this month. In “The age of the killer robot is no longer a sci-fi fantasy” (Independent), Johann Hari considers the growing army of 12,000 robots used by the USA in some 33,000 military operations per year and offers the following conclusion:

Imagine if the beaches at Dover and the skies over Westminster were filled with robots controlled from Torah Borah, or Beijing, and could shoot us at any time. Some would scuttle away – and many would be determined to kill “their” people in revenge. The Lebanese editor Rami Khouri says that when Lebanon was bombarded by largely unmanned Israeli drones in 2006, it only “enhanced the spirit of defiance” and made more people back Hezbollah.

Is this a rational way to harness our genius for science and spend tens of billions of pounds? The scientists who were essential to developing the nuclear bomb – including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, and Andrei Sakharov – turned on their own creations in horror and begged for them to be outlawed. Some distinguished robotics scientists, like Illah Nourbakhsh, are getting in early, and saying the development of autonomous military robots should be outlawed now.

There are some technologies that are so abhorrent to human beings that we forbid them outright. We have banned war-lasers that permanently blind people along with poison gas. The conveyor belt dragging us ever closer to a world of robot wars can be stopped – if we choose to.

The second article, “Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield” by Charles Levinson (Wall Street Journal), can only dampen Hari’s optimism. Levinson argues that the growing Israeli army of “robotic fighting machines” offers a “window onto the potential future of warfare”, with “over 40 countries now said to have military-robotics programs”.

‘Highlights’ from the article, for want of a better term, include:

  • Among the recently deployed technologies that set Israel ahead of the curve is the Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, which now drives itself along the Gaza and Lebanese borders. The Guardium was deployed to patrol for infiltrators in the wake of the abduction of soldiers doing the same job in 2006. The Guardium, developed by G-nius Ltd., is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. It was put into the field for the first time 10 months ago.
  • In the Gaza conflict in January 2009, Israel unveiled remote-controlled bulldozers.
  • Within the next year, Israeli engineers expect to deploy the voice-commanded, six-wheeled Rex robot, capable of carrying 550 pounds of gear alongside advancing infantry.
  • After bomb-laden fishing boats tried to take out an Israeli Navy frigate off the coast off Gaza in 2002, Rafael designed the Protector SV, an unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet. The Singapore Navy has also purchased the boat and is using it in patrols in the Persian Gulf.
  • Unlike the U.S. and other militaries, where UAVs are flown by certified, costly-to-train fighter pilots, Israeli defense companies have recently built their UAVs to allow an average 18-year-old recruit with just a few months’ training to pilot them.
  • “The Israelis do it differently, not because they’re more clever than we are, but because they live in a tough neighborhood and need to respond fast to operational issues,” says Thomas Tate, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who now oversees defence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.
  • in 2009 the U.S. Air Force trained more “pilots” for unmanned aircraft than for manned fighters and bombers for the first time.

From the BBC Press Office: A new two-part series for BBC Radio 4, presented by Stephen Sackur, considers a crucial, but often hidden, revolution in the way in which wars are fought. Ever-more autonomous robotic machines are becoming steadily more popular with the military and other agencies, often controlled far away from the battlefield. The pilotless drone aircraft, for example, has become key to current conflicts such as Afghanistan. Whether in the air or on the ground, such machines are seen as offering huge military advantages – with less exposure of soldiers to danger as well as being quicker, cheaper and more effective forms of defence and attack.

But the implications of this revolution are controversial. Are countries more likely to fight wars if their personnel are not put in danger? What happens if machines malfunction? How can autonomous machines be held accountable for their actions according to the laws of war?

Stephen questions military figures, including the most senior RAF figure responsible for strategy on pilotless aircraft, those who operate drones for the RAF, manufacturers of military robots and experts in the field. He explores what is already happening as military robotics expand – and what might happen in the future.

The first programme focuses on the huge impact of drones, used not only by the British and US in Afghanistan but also – highly controversially – by the CIA in attacks on targets in Pakistan. One former CIA employee reveals how the use of drones in so-called targeted assassinations has divided the organisation.

Episode 1 is on Monday 1 February 2010 at 20:00 on BBC Radio 4.

Presenter/Stephen Sackur, Producer/Chris Bowlby

Drone

The Guardian reports today that “Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan” as part of a “national strategy developed by arms manufacturer BAE Systems” and “a consortium of government agencies”. You can read the full article here.

The “national strategy” to which the Guardian refers is actually the ASTRAEA project, a £32 million ‘public-private’ partnership that has been funded as part of the UK’s National Aerospace Technology Strategy. ‘NATS’, as the strategy is known, is an industry-led government initiative adopted in 2004. By the end of 2008, the initiative had attracted some £464 million in collaborative R&D funding for 70 individual programmes.

So while none of this exactly ‘news’, credit to the Guardian for its freedom of information request and provocative reporting. The comments on its article certainly show the strength of feeling against the use of drones/UAVs in the UK.

By way of clarification, there are actually two types of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs): (i) the armed and unarmed ‘drone’ planes’ to which the Guardian report refers, and (ii) much smaller miniature spy planes. The latter are basically remote-controlled aircraft fitted with cameras and are already in use in the UK and other countries.

Annotated image labeling components of police drone

The military drones the Guardian is reporting on are currently prohibited from flying in European airspace because of well-founded concerns about potential collisions with traditional aircraft. The air traffic control community is particularly suspicious, and demands that UAVs adhere to the same safety standards as their manned counterparts, which some argue render UAV systems too expensive to implement. I’d be very surprised if the “sense and avoid” systems for these kind of drones will be licensed in time for the 2012 Olympics, but governments and the aerospace industry are certainly throwing money at the problem and can be relied upon to lobby hard when the technology is in place.

The recently released synopsis for the EU contract for the 3.3 million Euro ARGUS 3D project, led by SELEX Sistemi Integrati (a Finmeccanica company), is so badly written that it is difficult to ascertain exactly what the project is about:

Objective: The project aims to improve the detection of manned and unmanned platforms by exploiting the treatment of more accurate information of cooperative as well as non-cooperative flying objects, in order to identify potentially threats. The scope will be reached by managing the 3D position data in region including extended border lines and large areas, 24 hours a day and in all weather conditions, derived from enhanced existing Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR), together whit conventional data and information coming via various passive radar technique in order to extend the airspace coverage and to enhance the target recognition capability of the surveillance systems. Thus, the security could be enhanced in large areas, at sustainable costs, by improving the recognition of non-cooperative target through more accurate information on it s characteristics and/or more accurate positioning.

The project clearly concerns the development of some kind of radar system. Perhaps they mean the protection of manned and unmanned platforms, in which case it has something to do with oil rigs and such like? Or maybe it’s something to do with the detection of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) that pose some kind of threat? Whatever this project is about, it smells a whole lot like military research, in which case it clearly should not have been funded under the ESRP. Here’s a Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems press release that may or may not be about the same kind of technology? Any information as to what this is actually all about gratefully received…