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DA42 MPP Guardian reconnaissance flights by the JONAS Initiative – Mediterranean situation report

In April 2015 Christian Dries, CEO Diamond Aircraft Industries, launched the JONAS (Joint Nautical Safety) Initiative in response to the humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean Sea. Using a reconnaissance aircraft of the type DA42 MPP (Multi-Purpose Platform) Guardian with specific remote sensing equipment, the JONAS Initiative assists in the detection of migrant ships in distress and the coordination of rescue efforts.

Based on reconnaissance flights and meetings with Maltese authorities in early May further mission actions were planned. On 25th of June a DA42 MPP Guardian with a mission crew, comprising a pilot and an operator, onboard took-off to Malta. The MPP is equipped with state-of-the-art tracking systems, an electro-optical camera, a system for satellite transmission of voice, text and data, and a radar, modified by Diamond Aircraft for airborne maritime applications. This allows the identification and detection of all boats and ships in the sea. If there is a need for action, local sea rescue services can be informed and piloted to the correct position.

For nearly two weeks, from 25 June – 7 July, four mission crews (two for each week) have circled 125.5 hours over the sea area between Malta, Lampedusa, Tunisia and Libya to search for migrant boats. Every morning and afternoon a mission flight covering an area of about 40,000 km², approximately the size of Switzerland (41,285 km²), with alternating crews and flight paths was conducted. Migrant boats were sighted mostly along the Libyan maritime border in the area of the gas fields. The observations also show that a major part of refugees is already rescued when entering international waters.

The JONAS initiative proofs that the search and detection of migrant boats as well as reporting precisely from the field in areas with high traffic of these boats is possible. This is especially important in case of many distresses at sea within a short period of time to ensure a quick sum-up of the situation and to help coordinate the emergency crews accordingly (e.g. depending on the condition of the boat or the type of emergency). With the implementation of several reconnaissance aircraft, a continuous observation could be guaranteed to be there right in time and save lives.

Further mission flights are planned.
Do you want to learn more about the JONAS Initiative or want to support the humanitarian project? Get in touch via email at <link>help(at) and watch our JONAS mission movies.

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Facts & Figures

Period of mission: 25 June – 7 July 2015
Total flight hours: 125.5 hrs.
Fuel consumption: ~400 l/day
Altitude: 700 – 2,500 ft. above sea level
Mission base: Malta International Airport
Reconnaissance aircraft: 1 DA42 MPP Guardian
Mission crews: 4 crews comprising 1 pilot and 1 operator – 2 for each week and day (1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon)
Mission scenario: 1 reconnaissance flight per morning and afternoon

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