International consortium to use drones for Arctic monitoring

A new consortium of international companies, called IRSA Development Group (IDG), has formed to bring remote sensing capabilities to the Arctic.

Integrated Remote Sensing for the Arctic (IRSA) is a scalable, civilian, all-domain system of systems including remote sensing solution designed to provide more persistent monitoring of the Arctic.

The network comprises satellites, high altitude long endurance (HALE) drones, medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drones, small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), sea-surface and sub-sea platforms, and ground stations. Technology development for each segment, and their integration, is underway. Initial IRSA services are expected to be available to clients in early 2020.

“We are excited to be part of the IDG collaboration and the development of IRSA. The potential benefits of the IRSA system range from enhancing safety and security applications to supporting Northerners in their response to climate change. The agile team is made up of international leaders in their respective technology areas,” says Paul Adlakha, managing director of LOOKNorth at C-CORE.

Recognizing the need for more persistent remote sensing, robust communication and data connectivity in the Arctic, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security (BDS) began an intensive study in 2015, mapping the challenges and identifying gaps in designing and creating a solution to address them. Since then, Boeing has invested in establishing an international consortium to develop the technologies, products and services that can provide that solution through the IRSA program.

“This project is another testament to the reputation of Boeing’s industrial programs and the path for future growth it can provide our partners,” says Maria Laine, vice president, Boeing International Strategic Partnerships. “Projects like this underscore our commitment to provide opportunities for innovation and technology collaboration around the globe to develop advanced capabilities.”

The IDG is a multi-national collaboration among Arctic nations and world-leading innovators in advanced technologies for the polar regions. IDG’s objective is to develop and commercialize the IRSA solution as a service for safety and security in the Arctic. The partner organizations are: C-CORE (Canada), MyDefence System Integration (Kingdom of Denmark), Andøya Space Center (Norway), VTT (Finland), Scott Polar Research Institute (United Kingdom), Karl Osen (Switzerland), ViaSat Antenna Systems (Switzerland), and Boeing Phantom Works (USA).

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