Kestrel ViDAR system for Aussie SAR jets
Sentient Vision will supply its Kestrel Maritime Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) system as part of the sensor suite for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) new Challenger 604 jet search and rescue (SAR) aircraft, the company announced on 1 December.
Four SAR aircraft are being supplied to AMSA by Cobham Aviation Services. The aircraft are scheduled to enter service from August 2016.
The Kestrel Maritime ViDAR consists of a 9-megapixel optical sensor and on-board software that automatically detects and highlights sea surface objects invisible to the naked eye in real time. Each Challenger 604 will mount three fixed ViDAR sensors and an integrated processing system to cue the primary Wescam MX-15 sensor to detected objects.
The ViDAR has shown the ability in tests with the US Coast Guard to detect small boats at ranges in excess of 20nm that were optically invisible to the sensor operators.
Anthony Patterson, business development director, Cobham, said: ‘The real benefit we see in ViDAR is the ability to maintain a consistent quality visual search that has the same probability of detection in the first hour through to the last hour of an eight hour mission.
‘Visual searching with the human eye is very fatiguing and diminishes over time as crew fatigue. This is the first product that offers the potential to offset the human fatigue factor for SAR operations and we are very excited about the benefits to SAR outcomes.’
Simon Olsen, director of business development, strategy and partnerships, Sentient, added: ‘With ViDAR, Cobham will be able to provide AMSA with a proven, mature, highly capable visual detection system suited to the SAR role. We are proud that Cobham has chosen our system as part of a sophisticated sensor suite that can be trusted to deliver during critical, lifesaving SAR operations.’
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