Sensor-to-shooter is one of those ‘buzz phrases’ that means different things to different people in the defense business. Here at the Paris Air Show, Rafael (Static A8) is offering a graphic demonstration of the concept as seen by the Israeli sensor and missile house. Leveraging its expertise in electro-optics (EO), the interactive 3-D display is labelled “The Pixel Revolution”.
“Usually, the sensor-to-shooter process is enabled by the transfer of geographic co-ordinates,” explained Oron Oriol, executive vice-president marketing, Rafael. “That can work–but not if your GPS is being jammed. Most of our weapons have an EO sensor, and we provide the most advanced technology for imaging the battlefield, through our Litening and Reccelite pods,” he explained to AIN. “Through our advanced image processing, we locate and designate the target within individual pixels. Our weapons then recognize the pixel and guide accordingly,” he explained.
Rafael claims that the scene-matching algorithms within the memory of weapons are unique. The company has named its high-resolution common visual language “the Match Guide.” It provides a common operational picture across command and control networks, sensors and shooters to within a few pixels. It ensures the fast and effective neutralization of time-critical targets, the company claims.
Visitors to the Rafael display will be able to identify targets on a touchscreen display built from Reccelite imagery. Then they can designate it for attack by an appropriate weapon from the company’s stable–likely a Spike missile or a Spice “smart” bomb.
At this year’s show, Rafael is unveiling new versions of the best-selling Litening navigation and targeting pod and the Reccelite reconnaissance sensor that is packaged in the same size pod. Compared with the preceding Litening IV that the company first showed here in 2011, Litening V offers a new 1k infrared sensor plus a short-wave infrared sensor (SWIR) which, together, provide better resolution at longer range. Rafael has now produced more than 1,500 Litening pods and these have been fitted to more than 20 aircraft operated by nearly 30 countries.
Reccelite is now a four-waveband sensor in the latest XR version, with SWIR added to color, near IR and MWIR. “We have also changed the optics to give the same quality of image at narrow fields of view, with good exposure,” explained Oriol. This is the fourth version of this reconnaissance sensor, which has been sold to air forces in Europe, South America and India. It comes complete with an image exploitation station on the ground named Imilite.
Rafael is also showing the new I-Derby ER air-to-air missile that also forms part of the company’s Spyder ground-based air defense system. It has a new active radar seeker that Rafael has adapted from the one it designed for the Iron Dome anti-missile system. It is software-defined, including the waveform and duty cycle. Dispensing with the need for a proximity fuse has allowed Rafael to enlarge the Derby’s rocket motor, which is a new two-pulse design. According to Oriol, the improved missile is now an effective weapon from short range up to beyond-visual-range engagements at over 100 km (60 miles) distance.