This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The iHLS technology desk unveils the ’spider’ that observed Gaza during Operation Protective Shield and ’Sky Rider’, that provided the IDF with visual intelligence.
Operation Protective Shield included deployment of tactical observation balloons, including an advanced system called ’Spider’, which is equipped with a stabilizer enabling continuous imaging. The system’s operational surveillance radius is 8 km at full 360 degrees.
The observation balloon and ’Spider’ system are among the electro-optic means the IDF used in the framework of intelligence gathering operations and real time operation surveillance.
Johnny Carni, Deputy CEO for Sales and Marketing at CONTROP, which develops and manufactures many of the dedicated payloads installed in observation means and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) the IDF deployed during Operation Protective Shield.
Carni sums the military operation up from the point of view of his company: “the bottom line of this operation was definitely ’get me an image’. Each army chief, battalion or brigade commander, would not budge or deploy his forces without first achieving situational awareness – what the road up ahead entailed, what was just around the corner or what was on top of the roof of a house they were about to enter. The forces used, inter alia, the ’Sky Rider’ UAS, to gather intelligence and send out images from the ground. This was customary not only during the operation in Gaza but also when pursuing possible terrorists in the West Bank. Some of the commanders simply said “’we are not budging without ’Sky Rider’”. For us, as a company that develops technology and equipment, the operational results were favorable. We learned the current trend, which is going to intensify, is to improve image quality and resolution.”
’Sky Rider’ is an IDF Artillery Corps UAS which provides surveillance and visual intelligence at the battalion level. The System is produced by Elbit, and CONTROP produces its dedicated payload.
CONTROP, which is owned by RAFAEL and AERONAUTICS, has 200 employees and has offices in Israel and in Washington. The company focuses on electro-optic products such as smart thermal cameras, observation means for ground and naval forces, dedicated payloads for all IDF UAVs and UASs, including the Israeli Air Force and Artillery Corps. The company also develops a variety of HLS means for police forces, law enforcement, border protection and monitoring, oil and gas fields, naval and aerial policing, and so on.
In addition, CONTROP is currently working on an innovating product for a civilian client who is after an HLS solution. The client’s operational requirement was for VMD (Video Motion Detection)- enabled camera systems. This system features a software complete with algorithms which would provide a feedback on any movement along a perimeter fence prior to any actual approach. The unique feature of this cutting edge system is high detection rate together with target classification (person / animal / vehicle) and low false alarm ratio compared with parallel systems. This allows, for example, to increase fence monitoring systems’ efficiency. CONTROP guarantees the product, which is about to hit the markets, constitutes a real technological breakthrough.
Part 2 will discuss the current and future trends in the payload sector.