DOST inks MOA with NSC for SAR with AIS Project implementation
Upholding their mutual commitment to securing the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the National Security Council (NSC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement on 19 May 2021. This is to collaborate in the implementation of the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance (SAR with AIS) Project.
The SAR with AIS Project aims to improve the terrestrial and maritime monitoring capabilities of the country through the NovaSAR-1 satellite. The project acquired data-tasking services of the SAR satellite, allowing the country roughly three (3) minutes of imaging (or a scope of 81,600 sq. km.) using the scanning SAR (ScanSAR) mode per day. The NovaSAR-1 is also equipped with an AIS, allowing for simultaneous ship detection partnered with the all-weather and day & night imaging capabilities of the SAR satellite.
“The DOST and NSC will take another step forward and towards a new collaboration to ensure the interest and security of our nation. From this day onward, the council and the department have officially committed to endeavoring on one of our projects geared towards terrestrial and maritime monitoring, the SAR with AIS Project,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
The National Security Council have been part of the SAR with AIS Project since its outset and have been receiving data from the NovaSAR-1 steadily.
In his message, National Security Adviser and Director General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., expressed his gratitude to DOST for supporting the project in the last three years. He added that part of his dreams is for the Philippine government to establish [its] presence in the outer space, and through DOST and the Philippine Space Agency, we have accomplished this.
“We had small steps, but we made our presence known. With this project, we have accelerated our interest in outer space, and we do it through the NovaSAR satellite. We can now capture image for maritime monitoring purposes including other interests in national security,” DG Esperon added.
SAR data can be used to monitor and detect a variety of objects. SAR data is minimally affected by weather conditions making it an efficient option for monitoring.
SAR with AIS data provides for more detailed information regarding ships being detected. AIS data allows for the identification of the detected ships and the locations they have visited. This information is very useful in guarding our water territories against illegal vessels and in determining the hidden motives of unauthorized ships. Also, AIS data can be used to plot trajectories of missing ships and assist in rescue operations.
“With the operationalization of DOST’s SAR with AIS, with the continued assistance of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) headed by Director General Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., and now enhanced with the engagement of the National Security Council, we cannot help but look forward to another big leap towards our collective goal of strengthening our R&D infrastructures that are vital for the country’s security and territorial integrity,” said DOST-ASTI Director Dr. Franz A. De Leon.
As for PhilSA’s Director-General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, he hopes to find more meaningful applications of our space assets in national security as well as other areas—that with and through innovative solutions using an evidence-based S&T approach.
Dr. De Leon adds, “The SAR with AIS project plays a big role in research and development with its complex capabilities and expertise on terrestrial monitoring and maritime surveillance for national security, and I believe that this is something the National Security Council have always valued.”
The signing of the memorandum of agreement via online platform was attended by officials from the DOST headed by Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Undersecretary Rowena L. Guevara; officials from NSC headed by National Security Adviser & Director General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. and Assistant Director-General Ma. Victoria Castro; Philippine Space Agency Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. And DOST-ASTI's Director Dr. Franz A. De Leon.
CAPACITY-SHARING AGREEMENT WITH SSTL
The NovaSAR-1 satellite was designed and built by SSTL, while the SAR payload is courtesy of Airbus United Kingdom (UK) and the AIS Receiver by Honeywell Aerospace.
Through DOST-ASTI, the agreement allows the Philippines to access the NovaSAR-1 satellite until the lifespan of the spacecraft. It is intended to provide relevant data on land and aquatic resources in support of the country’s requirements for enhanced monitoring of maritime and agricultural environments, infrastructure identification, and other beneficial applications.