The unit, which supersedes the current AIS 200BF, allows those vessels to identify other vessels while restricting the transmission of their own AIS information. However, their data can be transmitted between Blue Force vessels in encrypted format, with the unit decrypting incoming information to facilitate multi-vessel communication and collaboration.
Kongsberg Seatex has also developed an AIS receiver for use in space – first launched upon the Norwegian AIS satellite AISSat-1 in July 2010 and currently in use in the International Space Station. It says that this experience laid the foundation for enhancing the receiver technology in this, its latest BF unit.
“This is an important step forward in the evolution of our BF AIS offering,” said Arne Rinnan, CTO, Kongsberg Seatex.
“Kongsberg Seatex has been developing these units with proven success since 2002/03, when the USCG installed our first generation AIS BF, AIS 110BF, on its vessels as part of the Hawkeye project. The AIS 300BF marks the zenith of our achievements; a compact, lightweight, precise yet robust unit that both encrypts and decrypts data internally, giving our customers the best possible platform for operational success.”
Kongsberg Seatex says that its AIS 300BF is particularly suited for anti-piracy operations. With units placed on (for example) large military vessels and smaller combat craft, AIS 300BF can keep track of, and help coordinate (through encrypted data exchange), multiple ‘friendly’ craft. In addition, portable units can be used in convoy operations to enable encrypted communication between navy vessels and participating merchant ships.
“Our Blue Force portfolio is now used by a host of NATO countries,” said Cato Eliassen, project manager Systems.
“These clients face, without question, some of the most demanding marine challenges in the world today. We are proud that the AIS 300BF will give them the competitive advantage they need to tackle them.”
The AIS 300 BF is a ‘black box’ system, with the standard AIS raw data format channelled for display through a typical ECDIS or RADAR, without the need for special modifications. Kongsberg says that it is simple to install and maintain, with all configuration and software updates enabled through an inbuilt web and USB interface. It adds that by integrating the unit with ECDIS and RADAR, AIS information – such as position, heading course and speed – reaches an optimum level of reliability.