A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance — collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation (e.g. artillery spotting), border patrol and fishery protection. This article concentrates on aircraft used in those roles, rather than for traffic monitoring, law enforcement and similar activities.
Surveillance aircraft usually carry no armament, or only limited defensive armament. A surveillance aircraft does not necessarily require high-performance capability or stealth characteristics. It may be a modified civilian aircraft. Surveillance aircraft have also included moored balloons (e.g. TARS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The terms “surveillance” and “reconnaissance” have sometimes been used interchangeably, but, in the military context, a distinction can be drawn between surveillance which monitors a changing situation in real time and reconnaisance which captures a static picture for analysis.
Observation was the term used for surveillance when the main sensor was the human eye.
Pre World War I
In 1794, during the Battle of Fleurus, the French Aerostatic Corps balloon L'Entreprenant remained afloat for nine hours. French officers used the balloon to observe the movements of the Austrian Army, dropping notes to the ground for collection by the French Army, and also signalled messages using semaphore.
World War I
One of the first aircraft used for surveillance was the Rumpler Taube during World War I, when aviators like Fred Zinn evolved entirely new methods of reconnaissance and photography. The translucent wings of the plane made it very difficult for ground based observers to detect a Taube at an altitude above 400 m. The French also called this plane "the Invisible Aircraft", and it is sometimes also referred to as the "world's very first stealth plane". German Taube aircraft were able to detect the advancing Russian army during the Battle of Tannenberg (1914).
World War II and later
During World War II, light aircraft such as the British Auster were used as air observation posts. Officers from the British Royal Artillery were trained as pilots to fly AOP aircraft for artillery spotting. The air observation role was generally taken over by light observation helicopters, such as the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, from the mid 1960s.
Maritime patrol aircraft are typically large, slow machines capable of flying continuously for many hours, with a wide range of sensors. Such aircraft include the Hawker-Siddeley Nimrod, the Breguet Atlantique, the Tupolev Tu-95, the Lockheed P-2 Neptune and the Lockheed P-3 Orion.
Battlefield and airspace surveillance
Unmanned surveillance aircraft have been deployed or are under development in many countries, including Israel, the UK, the United States, China, South Africa, Pakistan and India.
Most air forces around the world lack dedicated surveillance planes.
- Reconnaissance aircraft
- Treaty on Open Skies
- ^ Next generation of Global Hawks ready to roll, Flight International, August 16, 2010
- ^ http://thecapitalscot.com/pastfeatures/queen-mary-surveillance.pdf The Rise of Surveillance, Lt Col James O. Norman, USAF (page 18)
- ^ F. Stansbury Haydon, Military Ballooning During the Early Civil War, pp.5-15
- ^ Charles Coulston Gillispie, Science and Polity in France: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years, pp. 372-373
- ^ Canadian Warplane Heritage: Auster Beagle AOP
- ^ December 7, 2009 (December 7, 2009). "LA Now – Southern California, Secember 7, 2009, retrieved December 7, 2009". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/12/drone-aircraft-will-be-used-to-nab-illegal-immigrants-on-californiamexico-border.html. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission: "Military Use of Balloons During the Napoleonic Era". Accessed April 1, 2007.
Military aircraft types by roles Military aircraft roles Military aircraft types
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Surveillance Australia — Pty Ltd is an Australian aviation company. It is a subsidiary of National Air Support, which is itself a subsidiary of Cobham Flight Operations Services Australia. It is primarily engaged in servicing the Australian Customs Service Coastwatch… … Wikipedia
Surveillance — For other uses, see Surveillance (disambiguation). A nest of surveillance cameras at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts Surveillance ( … Wikipedia
Aircraft — An aircraft is a vehicle which is able to fly through the Earth s atmosphere or through any other atmosphere. Rocket vehicles are not aircraft if they are not supported by the surrounding air. All the human activity which surrounds aircraft is… … Wikipedia
surveillance — sur|veil|lance [səˈveıləns US sər ] n [U] [Date: 1800 1900; : French; Origin: surveiller to watch over , from sur ( SURCHARGE) + veiller to watch (from Latin vigil; VIGIL)] 1.) when the police, army, etc watch a person or place carefully because… … Dictionary of contemporary English
surveillance radar — noun A plan position indicator radar showing the position of aircraft within an air traffic control area • • • Main Entry: ↑surveillance … Useful english dictionary
Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System — ou ACARS est un système de communications codées (selon la norme ARINC) entre un aéronef et une station au sol. C est un système automatique de surveillance par satellite de l état de l avion en vol, envoyé vers le centre de maintenance de la… … Wikipédia en Français
surveillance radar — A radar primarily meant to scan 360° in azimuth and provide information on the range and the azimuth of the aircraft in its range. Information on the target’s height may or may not be available. However, modern surveillance radars do provide both … Aviation dictionary
surveillance approach — An instrument approach in which a radar controller provides navigational guidance in azimuth only. The airport surveillance radar (ASR) furnishes the pilot headings to fly to align the aircraft with the extended centerline of the landing runway.… … Aviation dictionary
Surveillance radar approach — A Surveillance Radar Approach (SRA or ASR) is an aviation term for a type of instrument approach provided with active assistance from Air Traffic Control during the final approach phase. It requires no special equipment in addition to a standard… … Wikipedia
aircraft — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ fixed wing, jet, light, low flying, supersonic ▪ Three men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when a passenger jet approached. ▪ attacks by helicopters and fixed wing aircraft … Collocations dictionary