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Capabilities for Sensing, Search, and Surveillance in the Arctic

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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Arctic Operations, Communication, Data Fusion, High Latitudes, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance ISR, Platforms, Remote Sensing, Sensor Systems, Sensors, Space


The possibility of warming of the Arctic region with resulting increased access opportunities implies an increased need for presence in the region, increased and enhanced technological capabilities, and increased ability to model and predict the evolving Arctic environment. Preservation of the Arctic as a global common and free from threats will become an increasingly important area of concern for the NATO Alliance. The role of space and space capabilities available to NATO forces will be critical to successful operations in the Arctic region. However, the space capabilities and services provided to NATO by its member nations are not currently optimized nor designed to particularly support such operations. Those systems were designed to support the anticipated operational theaters at much lower latitudes. Hence, there is a need for understanding how space capabilities and services should be developed and adapted to support Arctic operations. The importance of space capabilities was demonstrated and emphasized in the May 2016 SCI-283 RSY on Considerations for Space and Space-Enabled Capabilities in NATO Coalition Operations. Space-based systems are thus an important element of the subject of the RSM. In a wider perspective, this activity is also interested in sensing from air, surface / on-ice, and undersea / under-ice. Sensor technologies and sensor systems have been widely investigated in NATO S&T activities in the past, while the focus on applications in the Arctic region is relatively new. Sensing, search, and surveillance operations under the harsh conditions of the Arctic region call for the most advanced sensor technologies and the associated systems of systems.


The objective of this activity is to provide a forum for exchange of knowledge and creation of awareness of technological solutions for the special challenges within the Arctic region. Expected deliverables and end-products are the following: • Keynote and technical presentations • Roundtable discussion • Technical Evaluation Report (TER) • Publication of presented papers, roundtable notes and TER


• RF, EO/IR, Acoustic, and various environmental sensing systems • Sensor data fusion • Remote sensing and image interpretation • Communication systems • Ability to understand and predict the Arctic environment to assess, estimate, or predict sensor system performance • Use of data from multiplatform sensor systems • Platforms and systems integration aspects of Arctic operations • Unique contributions that space capabilities can provide to Arctic environments • Shortcomings of current capabilities for Arctic operations

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