Elbit Systems unveiled today an advanced capability that has been operational for several years with the military forces of several nations, in homeland security and the war on terror.

The system known as SkEye performs Wide Area Persistent Surveillance (WAPS) video surveillance by airborne manned and unmanned platforms. SkEye is a unique, new system that enables security or military forces to constantly and closely monitor an area of interest up to 80 square kilometers large. (the actual size of the area is determined by the sensor’s height). The system uses a single payload integrating multiple cameras that together provides an image of one billion pixels in size.

SkEye provides real-time, high-resolution monitoring of the entire area, providing up to ten simultaneous areas of interest in real time. In addition, it also provides operators and analysts ‘backtracking’ capability tracing events back in time to detect the origins of related movements and events.
Unlike conventional EO payloads that record and display imagery in specific resolution and magnification as it was obtained at the time of vision (real time) SkEye enables users to simultaneously look at up to 10 Regions of Interest (ROI), using different viewing angles and magnifications (zoom in or out). At any time they can ‘look back in time’ to analyze how a situation unfolds.

SkEye uses a single payload integrating multiple cameras that together provides an image of one billion pixels in size. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

“SkEye is not positioned to replace traditional payloads, but provide a new capability we know as WAPS – it provides a clearer picture in less time, thus exponentially increasing trust in the decision-making process” explain Yair Ganor, business development manager, for persistent surveillance and WAPS at Elbit Systems’ Intelligence & C4ISR division. “While looking over a large Area-of-Interest (AOI), operators can zoom into multiple Regions of Interest (ROI) simultaneously and understand the connection between them. This is achieved without neglecting the rest of the area, which is still being recorded and constantly analyzed.”

At the heart of the system is the airborne segment consisting of the EO sensor unit, an advanced image processing unit, a large mass-storage unit and analysis applications enhancing the imagery with geolocation anchoring of video imagery, video motion detection (VMD), adhering to safe zones and application of multiple target trackers.

Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 carries the SkEye payload on a test flight. The system can also be operated on light manned aircraft and tactical UAVs such as the Hermes 450. Photo: Elbit Systems.

Via an embedded data link, the relevant information is transmitted from the aircraft to the SkEye, Control, and Management Center (SCMC) that can be located at a fixed site, or transported in a standard 20 foot ISO shelter. The ground segment includes the communications, processing and display systems, as well as a local database saving a short version of history. The fixed installation would have access to longer history for deeper analysis. The ground segment can operate independently or integrate with the customer’s other Command & Control (C2) solutions. The system can also operate with the Ground Eye surveillance system, that provides ground-level surveillance with multi-sensor units covering arcs of 70 to 90 degrees providing similar capabilities – a high resolution ‘all seeing eye’ supporting eight areas of interest and video backtracking capability through the entire area.

SkEye WAPS features a fully-programmable alerting system that allows commanders to be notified of specific/unusual events through a customized alert mechanism. These capabilities complement and enhance SkEye WAPS’ unparalleled persistent surveillance functions, providing operators with an exceptional solution for locating and monitoring different situations.

The solution is operational in several countries, utilizing unmanned platforms such as the Hermes 900 and Hermes 450, as well as various light manned aircraft including Cessna C208 Caravan and Viking Air Twin Otter DHC-6. The aircraft installations are often used over urban areas where access to unmanned systems is limited. Such platforms are more suitable for border and infrastructure security, as well as military persistent surveillance in combat theaters where permissive environment enable continuous loitering of drones.

Elbit Systems will reveal at the 2017 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, taking place this week, an innovative wide area persistent surveillance solution – SkEye WAPS.

GroundEye persistent surveillance system can cover an arc of 70 degrees, providing continuous coverage of a wide area of interest. It can be operated by a single user. Photo: Elbit Systems