The Royal Danish Navy’s new command and support ship HDMS Absalon recently completed a tour of duty in the Gulf of Aden, much of the time as leader of the multinational Task Force 150. One of the force’s main tasks was to help deal with the increasing numbers of pirate attacks on commercial shipping in the region.
This was the first time a Danish naval vessel had been the pennant carrier on duties so far from home waters, and ISIC equipment played an important role in the capabilities that Absalon was able to bring to the task force. DuraMon/IEC 60945 19-inch monitors and fourth-generation PCM4 computers supplied by ISIC are at the heart of an ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) installation that was mounted on the bridge prior to Absalon’s departure from Denmark.
Working under conditions of extreme heat (often as high as 40ºC) and humidity, Absalon’s ECDIS system operated with no problems whatsoever, according to Commodore Per Bigum. As he also pointed out, “it was one of our most important sources of operational information, enabling us to keep tabs on all kinds of civilian shipping movements in the area. We were able to pick up ships’ transponders within a radius of as much as 100 nautical miles, so that we could identify them. And we could also see any vessels not using transponders, for further investigation.”
“All in all, this was in fact more useful than radar, and the result was that we had someone on the bridge manning the ECDIS at all times, because it was so important. This unique system enabled us to monitor all traffic – both military and commercial – effectively, right round the clock. We could hardly wish for anything more,” pointed out Commodore Per Bigum Christensen, Commander Danish Task Group from the Royal Danish Navy.
Integration with the rest of Absalon’s systems and sensors, including the AIS (Automatic Identification System), meant a wide range of practical information could be seen on one single monitor, providing the crew with peak flexibility as well as an excellent operational overview. This made Absalon’s ECDIS installation a key node within the task force’s information architecture.
Despite the harsh operating conditions and intensive use, there were no defects at all throughout the entire mission, and none of the back-up systems were needed. “It worked perfectly”, according to Per Bigum.