ITT, Mercury unveil embedded ISR processing system
ITT Corporation and Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. have jointly developed a processing solution known as FELCO (Federated Embedded inteL-server for Collaborative Operations) that meets the ISR interoperability needs of the warfighter.
FELCO is expected to be the fastest means of transforming raw sensor imagery and metadata from airborne surveillance platforms into assured geospatial intelligence in a small, open-standards configuration while a mission is on station.
FELCO will better support mission success by improving warfighters' use of data to make the quick, life-and-death decisions that are part of their job. Besides removing processing time lag, this embedded system gives users more control of how they view the information. The new system enables DVR-like interactions in which the user can stop, rewind, review in slow motion and resume live video. FELCO gives the user the ability to customize the content of the information stream according to changing conditions.
Developed and supported on Mercury's Application-Ready Subsystems (ARS), FELCO leverages the company's high-performance Powerblock processing architecture and ITT's open-standards processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) software, Enhanced AGILE Access, and AdLib. While initially designed for smaller, tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) platforms, it is ideally suited to scale to 3U and 6U form factors.
"The ultimate goal for a PED architecture is to synthesize volumes of multi-INT information into formats that directly respond to warfighter requirements," said Matthew Pellechia, manager, Geospatial Information Solutions, part of ITT Defense and Information Solutions. "As an example, in a typical airborne PED model, a sensor payload collects, stores, and downloads data to a large-footprint ground-processing enterprise network for eventual information extraction and delivery to users in the field. In contrast, FELCO performs real-time capture and synchronization of multiple data sources onboard an in-flight aircraft. This reduces the dependency on enterprise infrastructure and effectively revolutionizes the approach to PED using commercial off-the-shelf components."
The new processing system forms information layers, including standards-based imagery and video, GPS and moving target indicators, and transmits to one or more users in a standards-based interoperable format. Mercury's high-performance processing architecture, together with ITT's open-standards PED software, enables users to search/discover, serve, and store information, reducing access-latencies while assuring the integrity of the geospatial information.
"Mercury brings a proven ability to deliver solutions for critical defense applications that leverage its leadership in open-standards while optimizing performance in size, weight, and power- constrained environments," said Brian E. Perry, vice president and general manager of Services and Systems Integration at Mercury Computer Systems. "This ability, combined with our industry-leading Application Ready Subsystems that span a wide range of form factors from ultra-compact to 3U and 6U, enables the development of a single application that can support multiple systems and perform on a variety of UAS platforms -- from the small tactical systems to the much larger wide area surveillance systems."
Interoperability is a major feature of the FELCO system, and while the solution is ideal for new sensors, customers with existing sensors - EO, IR, SAR, or FMV - can explore the benefits of upgrading legacy onboard basic-downlink mission computers to the more advanced FELCO solution. FELCO also reduces technological and economic barriers to potential use by first responders and non US customers for a range of noncombat applications. The size and power requirements of FELCO will enable it to be used in a variety of other rugged airborne, mobile and fixed configurations, including aerostats, rotary, catapult- and runway-launched air platforms, and surveillance towers. Capacity can be quickly scaled to multiple platforms through distributed processor and multi-core configurations.
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