data fusion


MDA BlueHawk™ combines information derived from RADARSAT-2, a powerful source for global maritime surveillance, with diverse additional data to generate a comprehensive maritime picture previously unavailable as an unclassified commercial service. Other data sources include vessel tracking services (e.g. AIS, LRIT, VMS), vessel registration databases, historical maritime traffic records, metocean data, 3rd party optical and radar satellites, watch lists, MOU lists and customer-generated data such as coastal and airborne radar.

Environmental Protection


MDA BlueHawk™ uses RADARSAT-2 imagery to identify vessels engaged in illegal bilge dumping, as displayed above. Oil spill information from satellite radar is matched with AIS vessel tracks and metocean data to identify the polluting vessel and provide key evidence for use in investigation and prosecution.

Sovereignity Protection


MDA BlueHawk™ detects naval vessels encroaching on or transiting Exclusive Economic Zones, territorial waters, or controlled areas. Satellite radar detects dark targets (vessels operating with all electronics and self-reporting turned off) which may be indicative of illegal activities or threats. Operating far beyond the range of patrol aircraft, MDA BlueHawk™ can detect dark targets globally. The left MDA BlueHawk™ image displays vessels captured using AIS. The right MDA BlueHawk™ image displays vessel captured using RADARSAT-2 or AIS.

  • Blue Arrow Blue denotes vessels identified using AIS
  • Green Arrow Green are vessels identified with both RADARSAT-2 and AIS
  • Yellow Arrow Yellow vessels are those found with only with RADARSAT-2 data

One can see a dramatic increased level of maritime awareness with the added satellite radar data. The tool also allows one to tag vessels that are of interest (see ships circled in red).

prediction detection and alerts


The MDA BlueHawk™ screen shot above demonstrates the predicted course and range of a vessel. Arrows ahead of the vessel's current position indicate calculations and predictions of the ships location every two hours. The system can analyze such information to trigger an alert before a vessel crosses a user-defined geofence. The system provides key information such as altered course, vessel rendezvousing, sudden speed changes, loitering, geofence crossing, and spoofing, to allow users to analyze suspicious vessel behaviour.

historic tracking and system alerts


The MDA BlueHawk™ screen shot above demonstrates the tracking of a specific ship showing known historic positions to show route history. The system provides key information such as altered course, vessel rendezvousing, sudden speed changes, loitering, geofence crossing, and spoofing, to allow users to analyze suspicious vessel behaviour.

broad area monitoring


With the industry’s largest coverage at more than 250,000 square kilometers per satellite image, MDA BlueHawk™ delivers valuable information over vast ocean areas far beyond the reach of coastal and ship-based sensors. Radar satellites operate regardless of weather and darkness, and provide information including ship detections (vessel location, size, and heading), oil spills, and metocean data. The three shaded areas of interest displayed in the MDA BlueHawk™ figure demonstrates only three of many different satellite image modes: Wide Ultra-fine (50km swath with 3m resolution), Extra-fine (125km swath with 5m resolution), and Ship Detection Mode (450km x 500km with the ability to detect vessels 25m or larger). The MDA BlueHawk™ image also shows vessels found in each of these areas with corresponding degrees of resolution to help identify features of the vessel. This is especially useful when AIS identification has been turned off and one may have to analyze the size and other features such as cranes to help identify the ship. The user needs to decide between vast ocean area monitoring at lower resolution, or monitoring high resolution small areas with the ability to easily identify physical vessel attributes.



Viewable on any web browser, MDA BlueHawk™ provides a complete, integrated Maritime Domain Awareness picture. The intuitive interface allows users to control displayed layers including target locations and types, oil spills, satellite imagery, metocean data, vessel registry data, and other contextual information. User-generated data such as KML, text notes, and watch lists can be imported. Because MDA BlueHawk™ is an unclassified service, information can be freely exchanged between users, agencies, and governments.

fisheries protection


MDA BlueHawk™ detects illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in controlled fishing areas. The MDA BlueHawk™ image above demonstrates an area around Pitcairn Maritime Reserve, which is a protected area only available to the local population for fishing. MDA BlueHawk™ matches satellite radar-based ship detection to VMS and other data to identify vessels. Alerts can be defined to notify users of ships that have crossed into these user defined geofenced areas in order to protect national interests and preserve valuable fish stocks. In the image above, we see three green identifiable vessels which may be passing through the reserve legally. The fourth yellow vessel, identified only by RADARSAT-2 data, is missing AIS identification, and as such has been tagged suspicious (circled in red) by the user.

counter trafficking


MDA BlueHawk™ finds and identifies suspicious inbound vessels or those transiting territorial waters, for investigation or interdiction. The system provides key information such as altered course, vessel rendezvousing, sudden speed changes, loitering, geofence crossing, and spoofing, to allow users to analyze suspicious vessel behaviour. Accurate detection and tracking enables efficient queuing of patrol assets to intercept targets and maximize “eyes on target,” while minimizing resource and fuel usage.
The MDA BlueHawk™ image above depicts a vessel's historical route which is overtly avoiding U.S. controlled waters and could be deemed suspicious, requiring a coast guard dispatch.       

  • BlueHawk ocean_mobile

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