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A Web-based app could help combat pirates and arms traffickers

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The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) is partnering with Chilean scientists to make Web-based applications that push data to sailors to help them detect pirates, arms traffickers and illegal fishermen, the Navy announced yesterday.

ONR is tapping researchers at the Technical University of Federico Santa Maria to create open-source tools that automatically detect small targets at sea. The hope is to build a Web-based widget compatible with other maritime network systems so agencies worldwide can share information.

The experiment, called the International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness, was selected to receive $1 million beginning this fall.

The Navy has been exploring ways to make use of the variety of radar systems that are observing and tracking maritime traffic to combat piracy. It will be issuing a small business solicitation for a real-time analytical tool that scoops up data from radars and detects hostile threats, NextGov previously reported. The tool would pick up on unusual ship patterns and provide alerts to naval officers.

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