by Chris Pocock - May 2, 2017, 6:10 AM

Mexico uses its Citations with Bird's ASIO systems to protect strategic sites and fight drug-running operations.

Israeli company Bird Aerosystems stepped up the marketing of its airborne surveillance, information and observation (ASIO) solutions. It claims to provide “one of the most affordable, reliable and capable special-mission aircraft solutions available today.” It is essentially a systems integrator and display designer, using sensors provided by other suppliers.

Mexico has become an early customer, with installations on several Cessna Citation business jets, Bell 407 helicopters, and ground vehicles belonging to state security organizations. They are being used to protect strategic sites and fight drug-running organizations. Bird Aerosystems last month staged a live demonstration of ASIO at Mexico’s aerospace exhibition, FAMEX 2017.

Bird installed a Leonardo (formerly Selex) Seaspray 5000 AESA multimode radar in a belly radome on the Citations, as selected by the customer. The jet also carries an unspecified EO sensor ball and SIGINT sensor, in retractable installations. Two workstations for sensor operators are included onboard, that are common with others on the ground. The conversion also included the installation of uprated engines, increasing fuel capacity for longer endurance, and upgrading of some of the avionic instrumentation into a missionized glass cockpit. The Bell 407 was equipped with the EO payload and a satcom terminal.

Ronen Factor, co-CEO and founder of Bird Aerosystems, said that “by providing all team members with unified situational awareness, Bird’s new ASIO solution ensures that the entire team, from field commanders to decision makers, has an accurate and comprehensive situational overview as well as all the real-time information they need in order to make decisions.”

Bird Aerosystems also produces an airborne missile protection system (AMPS) that the company says was developed in cooperation with Airbus Defence and Space, and claims is now installed on “hundreds of aircraft worldwide.”