KUALA LUMPUR, -- A contract with Airbus Defence & Space for five Spexer 2000 Coastal radars with an unspecified value was announced on 17 December 2015. Interestingly, the new radars are funded by petrochemical firm Petronas rather than by the defence budget.
These new systems will contribute to Malaysia’s integrated maritime surveillance system (IMSS) along the eastern Sabah coast. Completed in August 2012, the IMSS consists of eight coastal surveillance stations, a joint regional command centre and a data interface to Malaysia’s national command-and-control (C2) system.
In 2013, Filipino insurgents from the Royal Sulu Army intruded into Lahad Datu in Sabah, prompting a full-scale security operation by Malaysia’s military and police. The Spexer 2000 will help monitor waters adjacent to the neighbouring Philippines to prevent any repeat infiltration.
Thomas Müller, head of electronics and border security at Airbus Defence & Space, commented, ‘Spexer 2000 Coastal is the world’s first security radar using the latest radar technology of active electronically scanned array [AESA]. Its capability to detect even the smallest targets in difficult littoral environments ensures a very high level of situational awareness providing security forces with additional reaction time.’
The company lists its instrumented range as 21.6nm (40km), and the AESA system is able to simultaneously detect targets on the sea, land or in the air. The associated C2 system is being provided by Signalis/Bremen.
These radar systems are just one method the Malaysian authorities are utilising to monitor the area encompassed by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM). ESSCOM also has existing CSS 1206 radar surveillance stations supplied by Techno-Sciences and granted by the US in 2006, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and floating bases.
The latter, also funded by Petronas, consists of a decommissioned oil rig plus a former cargo ship. They have been operational in ESSCOM’s area of operations since May 2015.
The Airbus Defense and Space-developed SPEXER 2000 radar is an advanced system to support homeland security and border control operations in a wide range of environments.