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Part 1 specified the observation and surveillance means the IDF deployed during Operation Protective Shield.
The iHLS technology desk explores the world of dedicated payload: advanced charges that in fact constitute an entire intelligence gathering and surveillance array, complete with a camera, sensors, radar, laser, electronics and electro-optics – all within the same sphere.
In their early days, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) were fitted with cameras this was their dedicated payload. Since then, the cameras became more and more sophisticated, as did stabilizers, so current dedicated payload of UAVs and UASs feature additional intelligence gathering elements such as sensors, observation means, ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) systems and radar. CONTROP manufactures a wide variety of electro-optic systems, whose weight it tailored to the size of the UAS which carries them. These are platforms weighing from 300 grams to 40 kg, which include day cameras, thermal cameras and various laser devices and more, all of which feature high stabilization capabilities, thereby providing continuous, stable quality imaging throughout the flight. All the thermal cameras feature Continuous Zoom and advanced image processing. This equipment is integrated with airborne and ground systems, enabling observation capabilities up to a distance of 30 km. They are also uniquely capable of producing panoramic imaging as well as automatic moving target detection for such purposes as border and infrastructure security.
CONTROP produces a wide ranging line of dedicated payloads:
Micro-STAMP (weighing 270 grams) payloads for tiny, small and medium sized UASs, STAMP (750 grams) and TR-STAMP (6.3kg). There are also larger and heavier payloads, such as LDP (27kg) and SPEED-A (22.5kg), which is designed primarily for observation balloons.
All these payloads are installed in a large variety of platforms – UAVs, UASs, helicopters, manned aircraft, observation baloons and hovermasts.
Dedicated payloads feature gyro stabilized camera payload systems and continuous zoom lenses camera with 3, 4 or 5 gimbals. Larger dedicated payloads also feature HD cameras and laser pointers.
Johnny Karni, Deputy CEO for Sales and Marketing at CONTROP specifies some of the advanced current and future technological trends in the dedicated payloads and camera sector:
• Transition to HD cameras, which guarantee higher imaging, more pixels and improved resolution. The trend is to switch to day cameras and HD thermal cameras. They are still expensive, but they greatly improve image quality. HD cameras also require more powerful computing and image processing, but the upscale image is a much sought after advantage.
• Development of innovating sensors with various wavelengths for day cameras and thermal cameras
• A demand to develop solutions that would guarantee increased observation ranges for ground systems. When it comes to operational means for HLS uses, for instance, development of dedicated payloads with ranges of 20-30km is currently under way. This is primarily designed for coastal operations.
• VMD – Video Motion Detection.
• SWIR – Short Wave Infra-Red: special sensors enabling observation at hitherto inaccessible wavelengths. This technology is designed primarily for long range night observation and is especially suited for it.
• Terrain dominance: current imaging and observation systems in payloads do not only improve their range, but also enable greater and more continuous coverage and situational awareness. This means the end to narrow observation and the beginning of wide-scale, ongoing surveillance.
ELBIT and CONTROP are among the presenters at the upcoming Autonomous Unmanned Systems & Robotics Expo on November 25-26 2014