A novel design of an unmanned aerial vehicle, utilizing tandem
rotor configuration was introduced by Dragonfly Pictures. The
company displayed at DSEi 07 its electrically powered DP-6 Whisper
tandem rotorcraft, as part of a comprehensive border surveillance
systems solution provided by Harris. The main advantage of this
unique design is the low acoustic signature associated with
the electrical propulsion and tandem rotor design, enabling
the Whisper to remain stealthy, particularly at night and over
densely forested or urban terrain.
Selex is marketing several new UAV systems developed under
cooperation with the Italian Unmanned Technologies Research
Institute (UTRI) and Alpi Aviation. All three platforms are
designed for field operation by lower echelon field units, offering
'over the hill' and 'round the corner' intelligence in direct
support for combat operations. Another VTUAV is the Damselfly,
developed by Selex Sensors & Airborne Systems in the UK.
Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV)
is developed by the company by internal funding. This platform
is envisioned as suitable for land and naval operations.
a hand launched mini UAV is designed to provide 'over the hill'
intelligence and improve situational awareness for the lower
echelon. The UAV is carried in a backpack, assembled within
10 minutes and can operate for over 60 minutes at a range of
about 10 km from the launching point, flying at speeds of 15
– 45 knots. The UAV weighs about 8 kg (GTWO) and carries
a maximum payload of one kilogram.
Another product developed under the UTRI cooperation is the
ASIO - a mini Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV is a
fully automatic, electrically powered VTUAV designed primarily
for 'hover and stare' battlefield surveillance; forward scout
missions and special operations mission support. The ASIO is
controlled by a ruggedized common ground control unit carried
in a backpack, used for all Selex' new mini UAVs. An ASIO system
including one VTUAV, two camera payloads (day/night or uncooled
infrared) and a ground control system weighs around 20 kg. The
ASIO weighs 4 kg and carries a payload weighing 500 gram. ASIO
can be assembled and prepared for a mission within 10 minutes.
Mission endurance is about 40 minutes, operating at speeds of
0 – 25 kt within 10 km from the launching point.
Under a parallel cooperation with the Italian Alpi Aviation,
Selex is offering the Strix man-portable aerial vehicle designed
for extended operation – in both range, end mission endurance.
This Electrically powered flying wing has a span of three meters.
Endurance is extended to 90 minutes at an optimal cruise speed
of 40 knots. The entire system, comprising an aerial vehicle,
three camera payloads, and ground control station is packed
into a single backpack weighing 20 kg.
Another VTUAV from Selex is the Damselfly, developed by Selex
Sensors & Airborne Systems in the UK. Vertical Take Off
and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) is developed
by the company by internal funding. It demonstrates a unique
propulsion system based on a high speed fan coupled to four
independently controlled directional nozzles for thrust dispersal.
Each nozzle has steerable vanes adding control trim for improved
station-keeping and maneuverability. The independently movable
are controlled by the flight control system to achieve controlled
hovering and transit to forward flight. This propulsion system
offers more versatile and survivable operation at low altitude
and over cluttered terrain (forest, jungle, ship deck).
Lightweight Synthetic Aperture Radar called PicoSAR, designed
for UAVs was displayed here by Selex. Weighing only 10 kg, significantly
lower than most alternatives, the new X-band radar has a range
of 20 km. It offers a broad area or 'spotlight' coverage, with
typical 1 meter resolution, and the ability to spot moving targets
through Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) mode. Selex plans
to test the new radar on UAVs in 2008.
The Swiss company MarcoSwiss unveiled at DSEi 07 the latest
and smallest member of the SpyRobot 4WD family of unmanned Ground
Vehicles. Like its bigger brothers, the new Micro Spyrobot 4WDcan
be operated by a single person, be thrown through a window,
up to or from a second floor, and provide real-time imagery
from interiors which could pose a risk to the forces. Measuring
only 20cm x 20cm, the robot weighs about one kilogram, carrying
two high resolution day/night electro-optical cameras and communications
gear. The vehicle uses a special traction mechanism, comprising
the 'flapper wheel' design, contributing to high speed road,
off-road and swimming mobility and effective obstacle negotiation.
The robot can climb 45 degree slopes characteristic with rough
and rugged terrain. The Micro SpyRobot 4WD can be carried with
standard modular load carrying equipment (MOLLE) and is suitable
for operation by dismounted troops and special forces.
The larger (5 kg) SpyRobot 4WD UGV is suitable for operations
associated with base vehicle support. The SpyRobot is powered
by rechargeable lithium polymer batteries sustaining up to eight
hours of continuous movement. Sofar MacroSwiss sold the SpyRobot
4WD to customers in the UK, US, Norway and Germany. India, Canada
and Singapore expressed interest in the system. The Micro SpyRobot
4WD is also raising significant interest. According to MacroSwiss,
the British MoD has acquired the first micro SpyRobot 4WD while
the US DoD has down selected it as one of two candidates for
evaluation to fulfill a large requirement to equip the 1st Special
Another product launched by MacroSwiss is reviving the World
War I trench periscope concept, with 21st century technology.
'Advanced Combat Camera System (ACCS), an evolutionary improvement
of the Giraffe pole camera system, currently in service with
the US Marine Corps follows the simple 'camera on a stick' solution.
ACCS comprises a zoom, daylight color TV camera or a low-light
or thermal sensors for night operation coupled with a digital
video recorder for intelligence gathering. According to Barry
ET Harris, Director of Sales & Marketing at MacroSwiss,
the system is particularly effective at close quarter combat
situations, in built-up environment where "it has the potential
to make the difference between winning and losing". Camera
on a stick type of sensor was tested by Thales UK and the British
Army, as part of the FIST system evaluation.
Carl Zeiss develops New Gear for Snipers
Carl Zeiss Optronics unveiled here a prototype of its handheld
surveillance and reconnaissance system called Opus-H. This integrated
system comprises an uncooled IR and visual channels, a laser
rangefinder, a digital magnetic compass and a GPS receiver in
a single lightweight package weighing less than three kilograms.
The system will be useful for reconnaissance, target acquisition
and command & control. Another innovation from Carl Zeiss
is aimed at marksmen and snipers, for which the company developed
the Sniper Auxiliary Attachment (SAM) module for the 6-24 x
72 telescopic sights. The attachment will provide marksmen to
receive critical information without taking their eyes off the
target. SAM enables marksmen to receive information while maintain
his sight on target. At the touch of a button, they can access
information from sensors, rangefinders and setting of the aiming
devices, easily determining information on elevation, azimuth
settings, temperature and air pressure.
Provides Panoramic, Immersive Vision
Another provider of panoramic vision technology is Immersive
Media Corp. (IMC) offering 360 degree vision systems for 'geoimmersive'
surveillance, mapping, training and situational awareness systems.
At DSEi 07 the company emphasized their training applications,
providing 'immersive vision' for surveillance, post-exercise
analysis ad operational pre-planning rehearsal. This unique
technology is based on IMC's proprietary 'Dodeca' vision system
- a 12-sided, dodecahedron shape camera. The system feeds video
to be integrated with digital maps,3D models or aerial photos
to simultaneously display fully panoramic vision - 360 degrees
lateral and 290 degrees in elevation, showing an interior view
inside buildings as well an area under surveillance in an open
area. Each object is geo-referenced in space, providing the
viewer with accurate positioning and situational awareness.
Users can interface with the system via head mounted displays
or flat screens.
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