In this article, MilDef discusses how the company integrated a ruggedized camera system for the Swedish Coast Guard.
The central surveillance systems for the vessel series 001 and 031 had reached their end-of-life, and the systems’ essential components had become discontinued.
New surveillance systems with modern and improved cameras. Older functionalities were retained, and new features were added to the system.
An advanced monitoring system with automated functionalities and better mission adaptivity in line with FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
The Swedish Coast Guard is a civilian government agency under the Swedish Ministry of Defense. On behalf of Parliament and the Government, they work with rescue services and maritime surveillance and are a part of society’s emergency preparedness in the naval environment. Their vessels and equipment are continuously updated to maintain a high level of maritime readiness and modern technology.
In 2021, the surveillance system of vessel series 001 and 031 hit the end-of-life mark, making it impossible to find compatible spare parts within critical time frames. Therefore, the future development of the vessels’ surveillance technology had to be reassessed. Soon enough, a new mission arose to replace the outdated surveillance system completely. With a modern take on optronics, having trouble finding the necessary components would be an issue of the past.
To aid with integrating these systems, the coast guard employed MilDef in August of 2021. However, before the surveillance switch-out commenced in March 2022, MilDef got the tender to integrate the surveillance system of the 031.
“As the system integrator of this project, to best prepare the coast guard for this transition is to look at their daily operations through our technical integration binoculars. Working with cutting-edge optronics requires an understanding of various rugged technical concepts that best cater to the Swedish maritime environment,” said Ludvig Dannberg, MilDef Integrations.
Eyes for all safety purposes
The project’s objective was to update the central optical systems of the vessels, all connected cameras plus additions, and all associated workstations.
The cameras are placed in various locations on the vessels for different purposes. For example, the cameras on the freeboard of the ships to monitor rib boat launches, and the security cameras help monitor individuals in the surrounding waters. In addition, specific cameras are employed for oil sanitation purposes, which is another yet vital responsibility of the coast guard. Further, there are cameras specifically for machine room surveillance, smoke development, and towing winches. The new cameras combined with the system allow the coast guard to monitor wider angles, experience better resolution, and get enforced lighting conditions.
One concern was the amount of idle time the coast guard would endure during the optronic undertaking. The upgrades were successfully made in just two weeks and took place both in the shipyard and on ship home ports, to avoid long periods of idle vessel time. Saving the coast guard precious time and resources while the project was in full force. During the project, a human-machine interface component that enables humans to engage and interact with machines suddenly became discontinued. Replacement units were acquired, but to ensure unit compatibility throughout the vessel series, the integration team also needed to replace the units on the already assembled vessels.
Due to the instability of the global business and logistic environment of 2022, some of the parts took longer to deliver. To mitigate this interference, the team assembled the other units in an interim solution to keep the vessel’s procedures active while the team awaited delivery of the necessary parts.
Stressless by ILS
By the end of 2022, the integration team successfully launched the new surveillance system. However, to enforce operational control, reduce costs, streamline processes, and speed up response time, MilDef created a simplified Integrated Logistics System (ILS) for the coast guard. The ILS included recommended maintenance preparation, education, operations, documentation, and termination methods.
It was paramount to ensure that the requirements for ILS were adequately planned, resourced, and executed. The instructions will enable the vessels to achieve the operational readiness levels required by the staff when fielding and throughout the systems’ end-of-life in 2030.
Opportunities on the horizon
A total of 117 cameras were examined; 103 of them were replaced, and 14 were added, all while ensuring the same functionalities from the previous system but also including brand-new features. However, since the successful launch by the end of 2022, the coast guard has identified other parts of their technical requirements that needed MilDef care. One of these included a request for new thermal cameras.
”Due to the result of the 2022 delivery, we’ve had the pleasure to apply our know-how to other projects for the coast guard as well. Providing bespoke integrations for our clients is not uncommon to us,” said Dannberg.
Integrating modern and customizable systems fit for client purposes is becoming increasingly common. These systems can be made compatible with already established ones, acting as a system-in-a-system.