Australian search and surveillance specialist Sentient Vision Systems has teamed with Austria's Airborne Technologies and UAE- and UK-based aircraft integration specialist company Phoenix Aerospace to develop the ViDAR (visual detection and ranging) SCAR (self-contained aerial reconnaissance) Pod for the UAE market. Sentient designed the pod for installation on Leonardo's AW139 helicopter.
Through the creation of a Middle East center of excellence for sensor integration, the 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 civil and military use. Diamond Aircraft recently demonstrated the technology in Belgium.
“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,” said Sentient founder and managing director 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.”
Sentient and Airborne Technologies’ AW139 day/night ViDAR SCAR Pod provides “round-the-clock search capabilities, with real-time autonomous detection of SAR targets,” Sentient said. “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.”
Phoenix Aerospace has agreed to provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region and will demonstrate the system to potential customers.
“A fixed installation of the ViDAR system is already flying on the Viking Twin Otter ISR demonstrator,” said Wolfgang Grumeth, CEO of Airborne Technologies (Stand 1916). “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.”
Sentient (Stand 1916) claims to have more than 3,000 systems deployed, enhancing the performance of electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for many agencies and forces worldwide. Applications include search-and-rescue operations at sea, military intelligence and surveillance operations, police detection and prevention of illegal activities including smuggling of contraband, narcotics interdiction, anti-piracy, illegal fishing, and border protection.