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The US Navy’s RQ-21A small tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will be upgraded with a new sensor system. In embracing miniaturized wide-area motion imagery systems for tactical UAS, the Department of Defense is taking a technology that has already proven itself on the battlefield with aerostats and providing the tactical commander with guardian angel-like overwatch.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a $6.7 million contract to Logos Technologies for the development, delivery, and performance of proof-of-concept flight tests on a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor. 

The sensor system will be called Cardcounter and is being developed to integrate onto the Navy and Marine Corps RQ-21A UAS.

Cardcounter will be a missionized capability derived from Logos Technologies’ BlackKite sensor. BlackKite is an ultra-lightweight WAMI prototype with infrared capability.

­BlackKite can image an area of more than 12 square kilometers (about 5 square miles) in coverage. Within that vast coverage area, sensor operators can detect and track all vehicles in real-time, enhancing situational awareness. The system catches and records the entire area in real-time and streams multiple video ‘chip-outs’ down to handheld devices on the ground.

Cardcounter will leverage BlackKite’s performance, multi-modal edge processor, which can store six or more hours of mission data. With this technology, users can forensically analyze the recorded imagery to better contextualize what is currently unfolding in the real-time imagery, drawing connections between people, places and events, according to the announcement on businesswire.com.