In April 2019, The Bahamas Maritime Surveillance System was installed and commissioned at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Base in Inagua, and has proven to be a step in the right direction and necessary in the fight against illicit activities.
As the Force prepares to refine its multi-layered security network, the state of the art Kelvin Hughes long range coastal radar that was handed over to The Bahamas by the United States Government, will only maximize the Defence Force’s capabilities to detect, deter, and apprehend persons engaged in illicit activities in the southern Bahamas.
Valued at over two million dollars, this was the first of several coastal radars that will be erected throughout strategic chokepoints in the country that is 95% water in its geological makeup.
Since its installation, there has been increased efficacy in maritime patrolling by Defence Force assets as a result of targets identified by the radar. Because of the radar’s ability to track these illicit crafts entering the RBDF’s Area of Responsibility (AOR), vessels are now altering their tactics.
The radar’s coverage and the support from the USCG Aerial reconnaissance, combined with RBDF maritime patrols ensure that these illicit vessels have a lower chance of achieving their goals. The Coastal Radar installed at Great Inagua and the future radars that are set to be installed throughout the RBDF’s AOR will ensure that the RBDF more firmly grasps its maritime domain awareness, even as tactics employed by transnational criminal operatives change.
Since October, 2019 the RBDF has beefed up patrolling in the Southern Bahamas. This in conjunction with the coastal radar led to the successful interdiction of two Haitian migrant vessels and one poaching vessel in very recent times. The Force continues to benefit from and encourage joint efforts with interagency partners and the United States Government.
The introduction of drones by the Ministry of National Security is being led by the RBDF and it is expected that their presence on vessel’s platforms as well as in the Southern Bases of the Bahamas will yield much, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data that will be a significant boost for the country.
The Defence Force remains committed to embracing technology to enhance its operational agility and is grateful for assistance of her regional and international partners in stemming the criminal tide.