SATELLITE IMAGERY is sent to CMF Headquarters from ‘URSA’ (the Unclassified Remote-Sensing Situational Awareness system). Since being deployed in Bahrain in 2016 URSA continues to provide CMF with valuable, strategic-level information used to ensure maritime security across the area of operations, including the Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.

URSA is a satellite imagery receiver system and is a self-contained workspace for the collection, production and utilization of imagery. The system gathers operational and strategic level data which informs ship movements and pattern of life data across the required area of operation.

The Canadian Air Force run and manage several of the fixed locations which receive downloads from a satellite orbiting the Earth approximately every 90 minutes. A download location was moved to Bahrain to facilitate smooth and timely information flow from Space to the Commander within 30 minutes if required. An area of interest is identified and a computer system decides the most effective way of gathering the information.

The team ensuring the smooth operation of the system consist of Canadian Military Image Analysts who also have engineering training. Twice per day, the satellite passes over Bahrain and the Canadian military team ensure the data is downloaded correctly. Once the successful pass has been completed the image analysts can assess the latest data. This information is then transferred to CMF Headquarters and distributed across the CTFs and the relevant units. The information is used by CMF and CTF commanders to assess the success and impact of previous operations and in the planning of future operations.