Applied Signal Technology (AST) is offering
several types of electronic payloads enhancing target acquisition
and identification from unmanned aerial systems. These include
the Model 580 STYX small-size wireless interrogator, designed
for interrogation of wireless communications using CDMA protocol.
The system weighs only 7 pounds and consumes 7-12 watts that
actively interacts with the cell station to obtain a mobile
identification of dialed numbers from cellphones operating at
any direction, over a distance of about 100 meters. Targets
at longer distances can be obtained using directional antennae.
STYX can operate in stealth mode, without any interruption of
calls in progress. Alternatively, the STYX can operate passively
to collect cal activity messages from a base station and nearby
cell phones, including SMS messages, paging messages and responses
Another COMINT system developed by AST for UAVs is the Hydra.
This system integrates adaptive beam forming and direction finding
systems configured into small-size package. The system uses
a software defined radio architecture to host a variety of signal-specific
applications. The prototype Hydra has eight RF channels covering
the 20-3000MHz range with 25 MHz IF bandwidth. The system weighs
30 pounds and consumes 180 watts. Further enhancements of the
Hydra will include GSM identification and monitoring of GSM
emitters, including the ability to geolocate each emitter.
Cubic Corp. and Rockwell Collins performed the first successful
flight test of the Mini Common Data Link (CDL) system linking
a King Air aircraft and a KillerBee unmanned system with ground
stations. The prototype M-CDL weighs 1.5 pounds and demonstrated
communications over a distance of 20 miles transmitting signals
at data rates up to 10.7 Mbps. The tests support the US military's
goal of developing CDL terminals that meet the payload restrictions
of small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) platforms and enable
data link communications with current ground systems. Existing
CDL systems are too heavy and too large to fit within SUAS platforms.
The Mini TCDL is designed to operate at rates up to 45 Mbps
and achieves interoperability with other vendor units through
compliance with current DoD CDL waveform specifications.
A new datalink innovator at AUVSI was Enerdyne
Technologies, a subsidiary of ViaSat. The company that specialized
in video compression is now introducing a conversion system
enabling analog datalinks to transfer digital signals at high
data rates. Analog links are s widely used with current UAVs,
including most of the MALE, SUAVs, mini and micro UAVs. The
system uses a signal modulator that 'superimposes' a digital
protocol over a standard analog link. After the conversion the
link can carry digital data rates of 4-5 Mbps data. The signals
are demodulated at the ground station using a special receiver
provided by Enerdyne. The airborne segment weighs only four
ounces (100 gr.) and its power consumption is very low. It can
be installed in a UAV within few hours.
Miniature Stabilized EO Payloads
AeroMech Engineering introduced the TigerEye
miniature EO payload designed for small UAS (SUAS). The five
inch diameter turret weighs 1.7 pounds in the EO configuration
(0.1 lb heavier for the IR version)is designed for unmanned
aerial and ground vehicles, with interface to the Cloud cap
plug and play operating system complying
with CAN or serial bus interface. TigerEye uses on board video
processor providing electronic image stabilization and hardware
embedded target tracking. The design uses a quick change of
sensors in the field, without special tools. Optional sensors
include a Sony EX980S camera with x26 zoom, a Flir Photon with
50 mm lense, a laser illuminator or low light CCD imager.
Cloud Cap Technologies offers several versions
of its lightweight payload known as TASE weighing about 1 kg.
The payload can accommodate a number of sensors, including daylight
cameras such as the Sony EX980S with x26 zoom or EX480C with
18x zoom. A range of FLIRs is also available for this payload,
including the FLIR Photon Block II core (324x256) with a single
or dual lense, Thermoteknix Miricle modules (384x288 or 640x480)
or a Short Wave InfraRed (SWIR) 320x240 sensor from Goodrich.
Cloud Cap also offers a unique mechanism retracting the TASE
gimbal into the aircraft to support belly landing or other operations.
The entire mechanism adds only 280 grams to the payload weight
while eliminating the need for much heavier parachute, airbag
or landing carriage.
Precision Technologies from Israel, a pioneer in the field of
miniature EO turrets for UAVs, unveiled enhanced versions of
its STAMP miniature stabilized payload at AUVSI 07, introducing
an operational Uncooled IR sensor packed version (U-STAMP) for
the first time. This payload weighing only one kilogram is designed
for nighttime missions, and, according to Controp, has already
been delivered to several customers worldwide. According to
Controp, the 3 axis gyro stabilization of the STAMP platform's
line of sight provides unique attributes to this turret, including
highly stable video imaging including high quality pictures
in full zoom, without vibrations or jittering, It also provides
continuous target tracking regardless of aircraft attitude and
motion. Wide field of regard and the ability to 'point to coordinates'
makes this small payload simple to use and highly efficient
when operated by ordinary soldiers.
Enabling effective tactical battlefield reconnaissance/surveillance
from UAS or manned platform applications, today’s unmanned/manned
vehicle platforms need superior all weather, obscurant, day/night
operational radar systems for all environments. Towards this
requirement, Rockwell Collins and Sandia National Laboratories
have joined together to develop a high performance Synthetic
Aperature Radar (SAR) system. With Sandia’s radar experience
and Rockwell Collins’ ability to manufacture field-grade
reliable products for use in harsh environments, we ensure unmanned/manned
vehicle platforms superior radar performance. The radar operates
at the Ku band (16.8 GHz) providing 4-inch resolution imagery
from a distance of 10 kilometers or 1 meter resolution from
23 km. Images can be used for identification and accurate geo-location
of small targets at a geolocation error level of 25 meters.
The current system weighs about 27 lbs, with future version
downsized to about 18 lbs.
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