Airbus Defence and Space has been highlighting its wide range of satellite-based solutions to the South African military and other organisations during the company’s recent Airbus Defence and Space South Africa Defence Day 2018 presentation in Pretoria. The country already utilises Airbus satellite products. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has purchased SPOT 6/7 imagery, which is used by various government departments including Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Water Affairs; Environmental Affairs and Stats SA.
The company has developed a large intelligence portfolio based on its optical and radar satellites covering data collection and analysis to information and monitoring. This is augmented with third party and open source intelligence. Airbus has a variety of satellites that it can tap for both radar and imagery. By 2022 Airbus will have 14 operational and is constantly looking to increase its satellite assets.
But it’s not just satellites that Airbus is interested in in terms of delivering imagery. The company is developing a High Altitude Platform called Zephyr, set to become operational in 2020, which will provide imagery with a resolution of up to 10cm and the aircraft will have an endurance of 3 months.
On top of imagery, Airbus realises the importance of software and analytics. Without this, the data means very little. In order to get the most out of the data provided. There are many other sectors aside from the military and government markets that can benefit from satellite data such as the agricultural sector. This is a key target market for Airbus going forward, along with the maritime, surveillance, agriculture, location based services, oil and gas, mining and forestry, to name a few.
The company is looking to become involved in ‘Massive Intelligence’ which processes enormous amounts of data and this can be used to identify changes at target locations and may be utilised for applications such as border surveillance and control, monitoring threats of terrorism and natural disaster response.
South Africa is not the only country that Airbus is talking to. Other countries such as Namibia are of interest to the company, which is concerned about its maritime security. The Gulf of Guinea and the east coast of Africa are also regions of interest, also in terms of maritime threats and challenges.