Dubai Air Show

Saab integrates security at Stockholm Arlanda

 - November 8, 2007, 2:05 AM

Saab Systems (Stand W326) has launched the first phase of an integrated security system at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. Developed under contract to LFV–the Swedish civil aviation authority– Saab Systems is working in partnership with Securitas to install a system that integrates all security functions and assets
to improve their efficiency and to make them “future-proof.”

Arlanda’s new system is one result of a study by the Swedish Emergency Management Agency that investigated critical infrastructure protection. The study looked at how best to protect facilities such as nuclear plants, airports, seaports and public transport systems. The concept of linking existing and future security assets into a common network was seen to provide significant improvement in coverage and efficiency.

With a long history of integrating military systems, Saab was well placed to offer a technical solution for Arlanda, while Securitas provides the manpower. The two companies already work together in a number of other security fields and are partners in a similar netcentric security system for Stockholm’s seaports.

The Arlanda system aims to increase efficiency by allowing commanders and end-users to draw on information from many different sources. The legacy system, with its simple two-way links, requires a major communications effort to compile anything like an overall picture, but the new system provides that picture instantly by networking. The system also provides a solid platform for the future integration of new technology and airport operations.

Initially, the Arlanda system integrates the airfield alarms, access control functions, video and sound sensors, and some security controls. The emergency services–the “first responders”–are also linked to the net so that they can respond quickly to any incident. Further areas will be added later, such as the remainder of security functions, passenger/baggage security, identity air traffic control and meteorology. Eventually LFV plans to integrate other airport service providers such as shops, ground transport, parking and airlines. LFV also plans to integrate the security of the Swedish capital’s downtown Bromma Airport into the same system.

All information providers send data to a common information integration unit where it is sorted and prioritized. The role-based system allows end-users to access the information according to their needs. At the top level, security chiefs have access to full information, from passive alarms around the airport perimeter to CCTV imagery from shops in the departure lounge. The position and status of security guards and emergency services is available immediately, so they can be deployed efficiently in the event of an incident, whether it is a major alert or a minor localized public disturbance.

The system will automatically send out alerts to users in the field, again depending on their role requirements. When alerted to an incident, a guard can draw on data from the system immediately from a hand-held or laptop-based node. This allows access to whatever information may be relevant

to the incident, such as imagery from an individual CCTV camera. Reports can be sent back to the system in real time, allowing instant updating of the overall picture. The command function would normally be undertaken in a center, but it can also
be undertaken in the field through mobile command posts.

The first phase of the Arlanda system was installed earlier this year and underwent a test phase prior to going operational this fall. Additional elements will be integrated over time, building to a vision of a fully netcentric airport.

Looking to the future, Saab is studying various concepts to improve the security of airports and other infrastructure by the use of advanced sensors, networks and advanced computing techniques. One idea is for a “sensor tunnel” to replace the cumbersome and time-consuming passenger security processes currently in place. As the passengers pass through the tunnel, numerous sensors could check for concealed weapons and other hazardous items and scan for identity. Systems could even be developed that electronically tag passengers as they enter the building and track them, alerting for anomalies in behavior that might indicate heightened anxiety accompanying an impending criminal act.

While concepts such as the sensor tunnel and tagging immediately raise cries of personal freedom infringements, proponents argue that the vast majority of the data gathered exists only in a computer processor, and human intervention is necessary only when the system flags up an anomaly or detects a suspicious object. Furthermore, a large-scale survey carried out on Swedish airline passengers revealed that a large majority were in favor of the use of high-technology sensors and the gathering of information, particularly if it reduced the level of physical intrusion currently experienced. “Scan me as much as you like, just don’t touch me!” was the overwhelming response to the survey.