MDA involves generating actionable intelligence about ships operating in a given area. One key component of gathering information about vessels at sea is the Automatic Identification System, or AIS. The system is a shipboard broadcasting system that works like an airplane’s transponder, operating in the VHF maritime band.
“This system is very inexpensive,” Walter said. “You basically have a laptop with an Internet connection, a receiver and an antenna.”
AIS is capable of handling over 4,500 reports per minute and can update as quickly as every two seconds, according to the Coast Guard. AIS and other information-sharing tools are part of Mullen’s “1,000-ship navy” concept, which he envisions as a network of ships around the world that share intelligence to protect international commerce and prevent seaborne terrorist attacks.
“It used to be oceans were the place you would go to hide, but we’re transitioning to a time where oceans are a place to be seen,” Walter said.
Landing the Big One
Friday, July 13, 2007
US Navy and allies working at knowing who is on the water in the Black Sea, as set out here: