Sentient Vision Systems has joined forces with Airborne Technologies GmbH and Phoenix Aerospace to create a Middle East center of excellence for sensor integration focused on introducing the AW-139 Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) Pod to the UAE market.
Launched at Dubai Airshow 2021, the tripartite initiative introduces the latest evolution of the ViDAR pod family, designed for a range of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) applications for both military and civilian use, and recently demonstrated and operated with Diamond Aircraft in Belgium.
The AW-139 Day/Night ViDAR SCAR Pod provides round the clock search capabilities, with real time autonomous detection of SAR targets.
With over 3,000 systems deployed, Sentient’s solutions enhance the performance of Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) operations for many agencies and forces worldwide, with applications including:
- Military intelligence and surveillance operations
- Search and Rescue operations at sea
- Police detection and prevention of illegal activities including smuggling of contraband, narcotics interdiction, anti-piracy and illegal fishing
- Border protection and detection of migrant activity
The ViDAR Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computer Vision software scans the 180-degree EO/IR sensor’s imagery feed to detect targets invisible to a human operator. It then places a thumbnail image on the operator’s screen showing the bearing and range of the target, allowing for an automated cross-cue by the inspection turret. When searching for small objects such as a life raft or a person in the water, ViDAR has up to 300 times greater search coverage than an aircraft without ViDAR, meaning more lives saved and lower mission costs.
The pods will carry the full ViDAR suite of ultra-high resolution day and night capable cameras as well as image processing hardware, providing a fully integrated system. The ViDAR SCAR-Pod is easily installed to the airframe, providing a highly efficient autonomous search capability that is able to detect targets that radars cannot find.
“Sentient and Airborne Technologies have a long productive relationship providing airborne surveillance solutions and together with Phoenix Aerospace we have a winning combination playing to our respective strengths,” says Sentient Vision Systems’ founder and Managing Director, Dr Paul Boxer.
“We are very pleased to be working with both companies on this compelling ViDAR development. This collaboration will provide a fully certified, integrated ViDAR Optical Radar capability for maritime search and surveillance operations for our key customers.”
“A fixed installation of the ViDAR system is already flying on the Viking Twin Otter ISR demonstrator. This technology is a must-have for state-of-the-art SAR operations, and we are excited at the launch of this latest addition to the SCAR Pod portfolio. Therefore, we are keen to offer the ViDAR system also as a flexible solution as part of our SCAR-Pod family, providing additional surveillance capabilities for existing rotary and fixed wing fleets, without extensive modification effort,” said Wolfgang Grumeth, CEO of Airborne Technologies.
“This agreement between Phoenix Aerospace partnering with two acknowledged world leaders in the optical sensors and aircraft integration markets, is testimony to the strength and depth of our expertise working with global aerospace brands”, said Tony Okill, Managing Director, Phoenix Aerospace.
“It not only places the UAE front and center of this dynamic industry, but importantly ensures that the ViDAR optical sensor systems become the chosen solution for a range of applications and platforms operating within the UAE.”
Airborne Technologies, being an EASA Design, Production & Maintenance Organization uses its engineering and testing capability to conduct integration trials and Phoenix Aerospace will provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region and demonstrate the system to potential customers. Sentient Vision Systems’ own Field Integration Teams will continue to help customers with ViDAR SCAR-Pod integration and operator training.