MAG Aerospace wins MINUSMA Manned ISR contract

MAG Aerospace will supply ISR aircraft to United Nations peacekeepers in Mali to aid them in their fight against jihadist groups.

US defense company MAG Aerospace has been operating surveillance aircraft for the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) in Timbuktu, Mali, since late last month.

In June last year, MINUSMA called for bids for airborne surveillance solutions, whereby the winner will procure and operate ISR aircraft in Mali.

Aside providing a manned aircraft, the contractor will also provide the associated service components, maintenance, personnel and exploitation/analysis of the imagery and data.

In addition to that, the winning company will also provide the necessary infrastructure for its equipment and personal operating the ISR aircraft.

Four companies comprising; CAE Aviation, Air Attack Technologies, Leonardo, and MAG Aerospace, responded and offered their unique solutions.

As part of the contract agreement, MINUSMA wants the imagery data collected to be available in an unencrypted, non-proprietary format.

The new ISR system will be integrated with MINUSMA newly acquired RADA Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) which currently provides critical early warning capability against incoming projectiles.

The MHR radar systems
detects, track, classify and locate all types of direct and elevated fires, including: rockets, rrtillery, mortars, ATGMs, RPGs, small arms, and more.

MAG Aerospace’ offers the full spectrum of ISR operations: pilots and mission systems operators; maintenance for the aircraft, sensors and mission equipment; logistics and support; and site and program management.

The company’s multi-intelligence data collection and processing/exploitation/dissemination services include using electro-optical infra-red (EO/IR) full motion video (FMV), LIDAR, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), hyperspectral imagery (HSI), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and maritime patrol surface search radar.

MAG Aerospace manned ISR solution

MAG Aerospace along with South Africa’s Paramount/US Leidos Bronco II were part of the US Special Operation Command’s (SOCOM) Armed Overwatch competition, they competed against Textron Aviation Defence AT-6E Wolverine, L3 AT-802U Sky Warden, and Sierra Nevada Corporation M28/C-145 Wily Coyote.

MAG Aerospace offered the MC-208 Guardian, while Paramount/Leidos offered their Bronco II aircraft. The two companies were eliminated last month from the competition.

This new airborne capabilities for MINUSMA is coming at a time when France, the major security provider plans to withdraw its troops from Operation Barkhane from the north of Mali.

Last year, France increased the number of soldiers fighting under Operation Barkhane to 5,100 due to deterioration of the security situation in the region.

However, early this year, France announced its willingness to reduce its troops fighting under Barkhane so as to focus on its Special Operations Task Force “Takuba” commitments.

Ekene Lionel

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