Grifo 15, one of the four ATR 42MP aircraft operated by the Maritime Exploration Squadron of Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (GdF) customs police takes off from its home base at Pratica di Mare, east of Rome. As soon as the takeoff procedures are completed, the two crewmembers responsible for the radar and optronic sensors turn their seats toward the consoles and switch on the airborne tactical surveillance system (ATOS).
The Airborne Tactical Observation & Surveillance (ATOS) system developed by Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems (Stand A1029) has been a key feature of the equipment fitted to the ATR 42MP (maritime patrol) aircraft that has been in service for several years. Now the system is available in a more compact form as Atos C, and has been installed in the Britten-Norman Defender 4000.
By just about anyone’s reckoning the FAA audit process known as the Air Transport Oversight System (ATOS) has turned into a horribly labor-intensive and time-consuming job. Now, as the agency’s flight standards office loses about 250 employees a year to budget cuts, the onus has fallen squarely on the nation’s regional airlines to pay the bill.