New Boeing-Led Consortium Focuses on Remote Sensing in the Arctic


Spearheaded by Boeing, a new remote sensing network aims to advance safety and security applications in the Arctic, including through the use of drones.

The IRSA Development Group (IDG) is a global collaboration among Arctic nations and providers of advanced remote sensing technologies. IDG’s objective is to develop and commercialize its Integrated Remote Sensing for the Arctic (IRSA) solution as a service for safety and security in the Arctic. IRSA is a scalable, civilian, all-domain, system-of-systems remote sensing solution designed to provide more persistent monitoring of the Arctic.

The network comprises satellites, high-altitude long-endurance drones, medium-altitude long-endurance drones, small unmanned aircraft systems, 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.

The partner organizations are C-CORE (Canada), MyDefence System Integration (Kingdom of Denmark), Andøya Space Center (Norway), VTT (Finland), Scott Polar Research Institute (U.K.), Karl Osen (Switzerland), ViaSat Antenna Systems (Switzerland) and Boeing Phantom Works (U.S.).

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 the 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 of Boeing International’s strategic partnerships. “Projects like this underscore our commitment to provide opportunities for innovation and technology collaboration around the globe to develop advanced capabilities.”

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