The mathematician James Yorke once remarked that “The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.” In a post 9-11 world, Norway, just like anywhere else, is being forced to meet challenges to security with innovation, forward planning and meticulous research. “Plan A” is simply no longer adequate. Fortunately, there are hundreds of businesses, large and small, working on new solutions and technologies designed to meet these harsh realities with confidence. As long as threats to security continue, Norwegian companies will seek solutions.
Norway benefits from the presence of one association bringing many of the 5,000 skilled industry workers together and creating the degree of unity essential for overall progress in nationwide defence and security standards. The Norwegian Defence and Security Industries Association has 115 member companies, and has a strong niche focus. Through cooperation with the armed forces and NATO, FSi provides a framework for everyone from radar warning system innovators to data security experts to work together.
Many of the commercial security and defence solutions currently being developed have been influenced by a range of special research programmes. One such project concerns risk management in the aviation industry, and involves UiS (the University of Stavanger), and PRIO (the international Peace Research Institute in Oslo). Its full name is ‘The social determination of risk critical infrastructure and mass transportation protection in the Norwegian civil aviation centre’. The study aims to take a critical look at crucial local and international security measures within aviation.
ISPAS AS – RF Systems for the Environment & Military
ISPAS (IKT System Partner AS) is one of the FSi’s 115 member companies. Established in 2001, its speciality is in providing expertise with measurements for a wide range of applications. “Our main markets are the military and monitoring. We are able to do geo-hazard monitoring using radars,” says ISPAS’ Richard Norland.
Applications for ISPAS’ technologies are wide ranging. ISPAS has worked together with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) in the measurement of glacier movement in the Kronebreen on the Arctic Archipelago, Svalbard. ISPAS used its new interferometric radar to make the measurements. The Norwegian military has also recently benefited from ISPAS’ expertise with the acquirement of transportable RCS measurement radar units.
There has clearly been a high demand for ISPAS’ proficiency with accurate measurements. Two European projects within the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development have enjoyed ISPAS’ participation, whilst the AVITRACK project (Aircraft Surroundings, Categorised Vehicles and Individuals Tracking for apRon's Activity Model Interpretation and ChecK) used ISPAS to help with small, netcentric radars.
UiS (the University in Stavanger), together with PRIO (the international Peace Research Institute in Oslo) are the settings for a new research project designed to improve aviation
© E. Torp, UiS
Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace
, provides outstanding surveillance products for military and civilian uses. Emphasizing the importance of situational control, sensitive indicators and the ability to predict incidents, Kongsberg is able to unveil an impressive product range that confirms its status as one of Norway’s most exciting innovators. Indeed, KDA casts its net so wide that command and control rooms, border areas and both military and civilian vehicles can rely upon its surveillance solutions. KDA has a truly global outlook. In the military alone, more than 25 countries worldwide use custom-made Kongsberg systems, including state-of-the-art secure and redundant networks, providing voice, data and video communication to connect sensor and control sites in a meshed network.
For 30 years, Kongsberg
has provided maritime surveillance solutions. KDA has long been the world’s leading supplier of VTS (Vessel Traffic Service) systems and, today, VTMIS systems (Vessel Traffic Management and Information Systems) provide real-time pictures of traffic in port areas. Risk assessment of each port allows KDA to offer tailored solutions. Surveillance systems can also be designed for offshore installations, providing warnings of unauthorized access to platforms of FPSOs (Floating Production Storage and Offloading).
Expanding Norway’s Vision
Other outstanding Norwegian companies working within defence and security includes Teleplan AS
, providing telecom, media and information technology solutions to over 40 countries worldwide. The United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is just one of the many recent beneficiaries of Teleplan’s
field expertise. The high performance GIS application MARIA© is to deliver the GIS functionality required for the UK AIS network. The standards set by MCA and IALA are high, but Teleplan
, supporting Norcontrol IT as a subcontractor, is confident that it has the background and experience to succeed. Fifty workstations throughout the UK at the MCA's Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres will display live AIS data. Fast response is a prerequisite, so that both early warning systems and enough situational awareness in the maritime domain to allow ready interaction between the Coastguard and vessels can be offered.
The technologies, products and services that the FSi’s 115 member companies provide continue to challenge any lingering conceptions that having just a “Plan A” could be enough. Amongst those taking innovation to new levels is Bosch Security Systems Norway. Amongst the company’s many prizes and industry shortlists greeting the release of new products, is a German Design Council nomination in 2006 for the 500-series smoke detectors, which also made the Security Industry Association's New Product Showcase list.
Despite all the uncertainties that the global climate engenders, it is clear that Norwegian companies in the security and defence industries are ready to demonstrate both their readiness to innovate, and their ability to answer difficult questions in the affirmative.
Evidence of Norwegian security activities can be found in strategic locations, here a Norwegain Telemark Task Force in Afghanistan.
© Torbjørn Kjosvold