27-28 May 2009: TANGO Security Demonstration in Madeira, Portugal

The security demonstration of the TANGO project was successfully performed on 27th-28th May 2009 in the Island of Madeira. This exercise was one of the major milestones of the TANGO demonstration plan, which is composed of 10 demonstration exercises covering different GMES themes like Risk & Crisis management, Maritime Surveillance, Fisheries Management, Humanitarian Aid and Security.


The exercise was organised and coordinated by the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) in collaboration with several partners from different technical areas, among which EADS Astrium (TANGO project coordinator), CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), Infoterra France, Charles University (Czech Republic) and Avanti.


The demonstration was hosted by the Madeira Operational Command, who kindly offered access to their premises, provided organization support and actively participated in the demonstration. The exercise simulated an evacuation of EU nationals affected by a crisis situation in “Alania” outside EU borders. The scenario was integrated in the framework defined by the European Union and benefited from the support, guidance and implication of representatives from the EU Situation Centre (Brussels).   



The existing telecommunication networks were ignored during the exercise to simulate the lack of terrestrial communication infrastructure during a crisis.   



The exercise allowed to highlight the benefits of providing near real time satellite imagery plus advanced telecommunication services by the bidirectional linking of the three sites participating in the exercise: the actors in the field (SitCen-A plus Mobile Unit),  EUSC providing data and information updates and the headquarters managing the operations (SitCen, Brussels). 

Transportable and easy to deploy satellite communication solutions adapted for crisis management situations were demonstrated. These solutions successfully provided stable and reliable communications between actors involved in the scenario to allow voice, data and internet communications, the transfer in real time of geospatial data as well as GPS positions collected on the field, and to provide access to near real time earth observation satellite imagery information. The geospatial information was efficiently shared between different actors of the scenario in the three sites, providing an optimised support for decision making. 

During the demonstration both operational satellite telecommunication solutions like ELISEO from Infoterra France, and innovative solutions such as RECOVER, developed in the frame of the TANGO project under CNES leadership, were brought into service for the benefit of the evacuation scenario. ELISEO combines geomatics GIS and GPS applications with satellite communications adapted for field mapping services, integrating cartography, positioning and communication. It allowed a permanent connection between the Mobile Unit on the field and the local command centre (SitCen-A) for communication and tracking of the evacuation routes in the field. The RECOVER (Risk and Emergency COntainers for Valuable and Essential telecom Recovery) is a modular and compact solution composed of a set of containers providing the following types of links during the evacuation exercise:

  • Internet connexion by satellite through a SCPC link, which was locally distributed by a Wireless network (WiFi)
  • Voice communications extended private cell, which allowed people in “Alania” to be connected with each other. They were also connected to the rest of the world by a backhaul over satellite Image

In order to ensure internet connexion with  the EUSC and EU SitCen in Brussels, RECOVER was installed at the local command centre (SitCen-A); RECOVER provided permanent connexion to theELISEO platform through satellite internet connexion to facilitate communications with the Mobile Unit. Telecom solutions were selected from the offers provided by the Common Telecommunications Service Platform (CTSP). these solutions were successfully tested in the security demonstration.

The exercise benefited also from the highly appreciated support of Inmarsat for the provision of the satellite bandwidth for BGAN communications. Operational activities developed during the demonstration were supported by products generated from a geographical information system (the Evacuation GIS), based on satellite images and aerial photographs of high-resolution in which route analysis was performed to determine the best evacuation routes from specific  evacuation areas. The system enabled demonstration actors to obtain essential information for a fast and efficient evacuation of EU citizens such as the selection of the most suitable or the fastest route, estimated travel time, location of evacuation points, hospitals and other important facilities, etc.    Image



To comply with the security requirements of the end users collected during the first phase of the project, communications and data were encrypted/decrypted during the exercise using dedicated hardware and software.

Image The evolution of operations was accompanied by access to servers located at EUSC in Torrejón and at Charles University in Prague.

The demonstration was attended by civil and military authorities of the EU, the Regional Government of Madeira and the Madeira Operational Command who highly appreciated the demonstration. Running in parallel with the exercise, there was a programme of presentations and briefings by the project partners about the technologies being used in the demonstration.  

This event provided an excellent opportunity for networking and awareness on the status of EU operations and the benefits of using satellite telecommunications in international crisis.











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