DB - Digital Battlespace

Redkite and Kestrel payloads soar to greater heights

11th September 2018 - 12:44 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Adelaide


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Logos Technologies has revealed that its Redkite-I wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system successfully completed a flight aboard an Insitu Integrator UAV on 31 August.

As its nomenclature suggests, this 11kg variant of the Redkite airborne sensor was designed specifically for the Integrator.

Appearing at Land Forces 2018 in Adelaide, this was the system’s first appearance in Australia, and it marks Redkite’s significant new ability to be mounted on a UAV rather than on just an aerostat or manned aircraft.

It can collect 1Tb of data per hour and onboard storage allows up to 8h of data to be collected. Processing happens automatically whilst in the air, and data can be transmitted to the ground whilst in flight. From an altitude of 12,000ft, the system can cover an area with a 12km diameter to a resolution of 50cm.

Alan Murdoch, VP of international programs at Logos Technologies, commented: ‘WAMI systems are capable of monitoring an entire city-sized area, all at once and in real time. We have utilised our more than 20 years of WAMI development experience to continue to reduce the sensor’s size, weight and power to bring a full, real-time WAMI capability to a small, group 3 UAS.’

There are also plans for an even more compact version that can fit on the Insitu ScanEagle UAV.

While the Redkite is currently a daytime system, next year the company will introduce one capable of night-time operations as well.

Speaking to Shephard at Land Forces 2018, Murdoch said the US DoD and US Army are its main customers for WAMI systems. While other Five Eyes nations such as Australia have expressed interest, there is not yet a formal requirement for this capability in Australia yet.

Murdoch also spoke of the Kestrel Block II for wide-area persistent surveillance. It will undergo final development testing at the Yuma Proving ground in September.

Featuring four cameras, it records 440 megapixels per second, and it can store imagery for 30 days. Mounted on an aerostat floating at 3,000ft, the Kestrel Block II can detect movements in an area covering a diameter of 12km.

It works effectively with such EO/IR systems as a Wescam MX-20, which can hone in on items of interest. The 40kg system sends data down the aerostat’s tether.

Murdoch revealed that four Simera WAMI systems were used aboard aerostats for security during the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

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