Controp Introduces New EO Payolads for Unmanned, Vehicular Applications


Photo above: The new mini-UAV acquired by the Israel Defense Forces under the ‘SkyRider’ program is equipped with Control STAMP family of mini-payloads from Controp. Photo via Controp.

A mast -mounted observation system produced by Controp is installed on the Zibar all terrain vehicle. Photo: Controp

Controp Precision Technologies, an EO Payloads specialist from Israel is announcing new Electro Optical Infra-Red (EO/IR) payloads at the Eurosatory 2010 exhibition this week. Among the new systems are surveillance sensors providing wide area panoramic coverage for perimeter defense, border control and battlefield intelligence, EO payloads designed for unmanned aerial and autonomous ground vehicles, as well as high performance sensors integrating laser designators for UAVs.

One of the new systems from Controp is the ‘Speed A’ optimized for aerostat-borne applications. The payload was later modified into a vehicle-borne, high mast mounted stabilized payload designated ‘Speed V’ (left photo) . It blends the features of the range and long range capabilities of the Speed sensor with the panoramic surveillance capabilities of the Spider. Instead of a high power zoom lens which takes over the sensor when the user investigates a target in a full zoom, the Speed V uses a thermal imager with a high magnification 600mm ‘Spotter’ channel, enabling the operator to look at a target in a ultra narrow field of view, while the payload continues to stare at a larger area, through the wide field of view.

Speed A Stabilized EO designed for tethered / aerostat applications. Photo: Controp.

These new sensors have already been supplied to a number of customers, for use as part of a border protection system in an Asian country. The Spider LR is used as part of a Very Long Range Observation System (V-LOROS) employing the third generation FLIR camera with an 1400mm lense, continuous optical zoom lens, a daytime 1000mm camera and a Laser Range Finder (LRF). The SPIDER is also a Long Range Observation System (LOROS), has also been deployed for mobile area surveillance and 24/7 border protection in Afghanistan and other Asian countries.

The Local Automatic Gain Control (AGC) feature provided with Controp’s thermal imaging cameras provides detail rich views of areas traditionally saturated in thermal imaging cameras using standard AGC. Photos: Controp

Controp’s observation and surveillance systems are currently operational by the Israel Defense Forces, Ground Forces, Navy and Air Force. The systems are also deployed as part of a large airbase and coastal protection program, a large coastal surveillance and protection program in Southeast Asia. In 2009 the system was selected for the protection for a number of major and strategic seaports in Western Europe and the US Coast Guard. For example, at the Italian port of Gioia Taurro, Controp’s surveillance systems provide a “virtual fence” over the sea and coastal areas.

Controp is also offering a new version of the Spider panoramic surveillance sensor, , designed for operation at long distances. The highly sensitive cooled FLIR used with the Spider LR is equipped with a 1400 mm telephoto lens, detecting targets at ranges up to 65-70 km.

For airborne and mast mounted applications, Controp also provides the Laser Designator Payload (LDP), a high performance, gyro-stabilized EO/IR payload equipped with an integral laser designator, weighing about 32 kg. LDP is equipped with a daylight camera with x20 zoom and high performance thermal camera fitted with x36 continuous zoom. Powerful image processing algorithms are also employed, enabling operators to see a high quality image in challenging conditions, for example, when monitoring an explosion, fire source or other blinding spots). The cameras used with these thermal cameras are equipped with ‘Local AGC’ maintaining a clear view of the target in spite of extreme heat differences in the observed area and shady areas in the picture.

Another line of products from Controp are the lightweight stabilized payloads, designed for small and mini-UAVs. Controp was selected as a sole source to provide the stabilized EO payloads for the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Skyrider program, where its STAMP payload was selected to equip the Skylark 1LE electrically powered mini UAV provided by Elbit Systems. The line of gyro-stabilized miniature payloads includes the D-STAMP with a CCD camera for daylight applications and the U-STAMP with an uncooled IR dual field-of-view camera for night-time applications. Controp also offers the U-STAMP-Z, fitted with a continuous zoom lens. For the next level, currently in competition, Controp has developed a lightweight multi-sensor packed stabilized EO payload, mounting a daylight TV and a cooled thermal sensor, packed into a three kilogram payload.

Another new EO payload from Controp is the VIEW family, optimized for manned and unmanned ground and naval vehicles, when the crew is ‘buttoned up’ inside the protected vehicles or command center. A similar dual payload configuration on a USV enhances the situational picture of the operators, providing overlapping coverage to monitor all sensitive sectors, in case of close encounters with hostile elements. In an airborne or heliborne operation, the A-View provides the pilot or co-pilot with the observer’s field of activity.

An L-View stabilized camera mounted on an IDF Puma combat engineering support vehicle. Photo via Controp.

The L-VIEW meets unique field requirements aiding the commander and crew of light armored vehicles. The stabilized camera enables the commander to monitor his surrounding area in panoramic view. In fact, L-View acts as an independent commander’s viewer, reducing the workload and response time during fire engagements, where the commander and gunner’s attention is focused at different sectors. The separate sight enables the commander to continue to select new targets while the gunner is engaged in the current conflict. Other applications of the L-VIEW include observation, navigation, driving, security, situational awareness and force protection while providing real-time video onboard a variety of different land vehicles.

Payload Control and Display Unit (PCDU)

A different application for vehicular EO payload is DANIS – fitted with different types of sensors including border patrolling robots and other UGVs. The most common configuration of DANIS uses an uncooled thermal sensor from Controp, providing effective visibility up to a distance of 1,000 meters. A lower cost payload called DANIS utilizes mature technologies developed for other EO payloads. In the unmanned vehicular application DANIS has been stripped out of its stabilization, utilizing ‘strap down’ mounting on the vehicle roof, enabling the driver and commander a wide field of view of the roadside, road or higher elevations.

Controp is also offering a ruggedized, man portable full-size Payload Control and Display Unit (PCDU) designed for full daylight or night time operation.

A DSP-1 EO payload carried by an Aerostar UAV from Aeronautics. Photo: Control