Home >> January 2009 Edition >> INCOMING: A Conversation With GMV
INCOMING: A Conversation With GMV
with José Prieto

GMV is a privately owned technological business group with an international presence. Founded in 1984, GMV offers a variety of solutions, services, and products in very diverse sectors, including Space, Defense, Telecommunications, and Information Technology for Public Administration and large corporations, among others.

We talked with José Prieto, the Business Development Manager for the I&S Business Unit within GMV

What does “Intelligence & Surveillance” for the military entail in a broad, industry perspective?

Josť Prieto
Military commands from all over the world have already recognized a significant change in defense and security as we entered the 21st century. During the years of the Cold War, borders were closed, information technology was at its infancy and one of the main concerns in the military domain was invasion, which provides insight into the challenges at the time.

Currently, the threat has evolved to the so called “Asymmetric War” in which insurgents are driven by fundamentalism and new forms of attack (cyber terrorism, CBRNE attacks, IED, suicide bombers). In addition, modern terrorism cells have a complex organizational structure with many interconnected groups that create a global threat rather than isolated conflicts in each nation. However, the worst facet of this new threat is the fact that it is constantly changing, making it less visible and predictable.

In this context, in addition to enhancing the capabilities of the current and future weapon systems, military services have envisioned an urgent need to increase the capabilities of military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in order to obtain information superiority, a key factor for the success against these new threats. Hence, these challenges have been forwarded to the industry in order to develop solutions in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance domain through a great variety of related technologies, such as sensors, sensor networks, information management, data fusion and image processing.

Why is Intelligence & Surveillance so important to the satellite industry within the military? Is it important to GMV? If so, why?

Josť Prieto
Satellite assets (and in consequence the satellite industry) play a major role in intelligence and surveillance. According to a white paper by the European Space Agency, “Space has a security dimension and security has a space dimension.” And there are several solid arguments for this statement.

First, satellite technology provides weather-resistant, 24/7, unobtrusive access to denied areas, giving the warfighter the capability to survey wider zones with great attention to detail and feed intelligent analysts with vital information about situation awareness. In addition, the intelligence and surveillance capability heavily relies on a solid and reliable communications infrastructure. Again, the satellite industry provides high data rate communications satisfying the most challenging security requirements.

Intelligence and surveillance is indeed an important area to GMV. We have been providing innovative solutions in the space sector for more than 25 years and we confront the challenges posed by such Intelligence & Surveillance needs with great motivation and excitement. GMV holds a leading role in the space sector and as mentioned before, it is widely admitted that the satellite industry has the answer to many of the most pressing Intelligence & Surveillance problems. In this sense, we feel committed to this area and compelled to engage with our partners and customers in order to provide the capabilities that the new threats are demanding.

What does GMV do to specifically support I&S? Can you provide some examples?

Josť Prieto
GMV provides intelligence and surveillance solutions through several initiatives.

Knowledge of multidisciplinary technologies for data processing, image treatment, algorithm development, visualization, storing, publication and data merging, as well as understanding the users and demanded applications, are essential to developing good quality I&S systems. After more than a decade of providing these solutions to a wide range of customers, GMV has acquired the experience, technology and equipment for supplying earth observation data processing solutions and systems.

GMV’s presence in the space industry is demonstrated through our technologies, systems and services in the areas of remote sensing data processing and exploitation, and the development of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and applications. GMV is also present in the telecommunications industry, providing innovative solutions through state-of-the-art platforms. Through its involvement in programs such as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program, European Commission framework programs, and different projects and development of GNSS system applications, GMV provides a wide array of user segment systems and solutions.

In the particular field of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance), GMV participates in the MAJIIC program (Multisensor Aerospace-Ground Joint ISR Interoperability Coalition) through the Spanish MoD for the development of two ISTAR exploitations posts.

Last, but not least, one should not forget that there are serious concerns due to the vulnerability of the space assets. This vulnerability has to be considered during the development, deployment and operation of space systems and GMV’s portfolio of products include solutions such as physical security, encryption and access control.

What Intelligence & Surveillance solutions are available to ensure the safety of our warfighters, government agency personnel, etc. in the military? Does GMV offer any of such solutions?

Josť Prieto
Today, there exists a huge variety of ISTAR systems ranging from strategic to tactical domains both at national and international level. Some examples are:
  • Coalition Aerial Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CAESAR): The goals of the CAESAR project are to develop the concept of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and the technology that will allow efficient and effective use of ground surveillance sensor platforms in a coalition environment.
  • Multi-sensor Aerospace Joint ISR Interoperability Coalition (MAJIIC): The main objective of MAJIIC is to maximize the military’s use of surveillance and reconnaissance resources through the development and evaluation of operational and technical means for interoperability for a wide range of ISR assets.
  • Networked Interoperable Real-time Information Services (NIRIS): This is a system to use Internet technologies for the transmission and dissemination of a Recognized Air Picture (RAP) on a NATO classified network in near real-time.
  • Multi-Lateral Interoperability Program (MIP): This is a NATO program with the aim to achieve international interoperability of Command, Control and Communications Information Systems (C3IS) at all levels from corps to battalion, or lowest appropriate level, in order to support multinational (including NATO), combined and joint operations and the advancement of digitization in the international arena
  • Shared Tactical Ground Picture (STGP): The STGP was an initiative by seven NATO nations and NC3A to improve sharing of information in a coalition environment

In addition, each country often has its own “national implementation” for such systems which is aligned with its own requirements. GMV has participated in some of the international programs (MAJIIC, MIP) and is also the main resource for the Spanish systems related to Field Artillery and Anti Aircraft Artillery. As mentioned earlier, GMV also provides a great variety of products and services related to intelligence and surveillance in the following areas: Earth Observation, data processing, data fusion, command and control and security.

What will the current global financial doldrums mean to industries within the military environs?

Josť Prieto
The military is by no means isolated from the global financial crisis. In fact, it is often said that the armies are the first ones suffering the negative effects of the crisis once the economy goes south, and the last ones taking benefit from the eventual financial recovery.

However, even worse than the budgetary issues which are comparable with those from other industries, is the potential lack of confidence which comes into play in these situations. When facing the threats and challenges outlined above, international cooperation is key, and this cooperation is in inevitably based on trust. It is then essential to foster and enhance trust in the international arena, as a global threat requires a global response.

We at GMV feel optimistic about this topic since we are used to collaborating and competing in the international scenario as well as the military domain. GMV is in fact one of the most active companies in defense and security international programs such as the European Defense Agency, NATO, the European Commission and the European Technology Acquisition Program.

What does GMV see as important facets of the business for 2009/2010?

Josť Prieto
As already mentioned earlier, we feel that cooperation is essential given the current financial scenario. This situation has already started to create unconventional public-private partnerships in which it is possible to find private industries, research centers, final users and academia collaborating in common ventures. International defense agencies are growing, and each day it is more common to find governments spending money through those agencies in the form of international cooperation programs. As Mr. Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), said in the Economic Development Administration (EDA) European R&T Conference held in 2006, “We should spend more, spend better and spend more together.”

We at GMV are already starting to notice this trend and we feel that in 2009-2010, international defense cooperation programs will play a vital role. Our plans are to continue gaining the confidence of our partners and clients by maintaining excellence in our work and capitalizing on our significant international experience gained over more than two decades.

For further information, please email José at jprieto@gmv.com, or call + 34 91 807 21 27.