PAS 2011: Elbit nears WAAPS completion
Elbit Systems is in talks with an undisclosed customer for the first sale of its Wide Area Airborne Persistent Surveillance (WAAPS) system as it completes development of the product, industry sources have revealed.
Speaking to Shephard at the Paris Air Show, a source within the company would not comment on the potential customer but said Elbit was 'working very closely to be ready with the system'. The WAAPS system is in the final stages of experimentation and capability testing, it was added.
It is understood that WAAPS, which comprises a 25-camera payload, will be integrated onto a fixed-wing aircraft believed to be a Hawker Beechcraft model on behalf of the customer. Designed for 'quick terrain dominance', the payload currently includes a mix of day and night full motion video cameras with Elbit Systems believed to be looking to integrate an infra-red capability in the future.
According to the source, each of the 25 cameras can be manipulated by operators in the air or ground environments while each individual sensor can be viewed by any number of viewing terminals depending on bandwidth limitations.
A spokesman for Elbit Systems also described the company's wider WAAPS 'solution', which sees the integration of the payload into a wider C4ISR network comprising a Hermes 900 UAV and Smart All Terrain Network Detector (SAND) unattended ground sensors.
'The idea is for a commander to create a safe zone for friendly forces and helicopter landing sites for example. He can then detect any enemy penetration allowing him to react,' he told Shephard while describing the WAAPS solution's suitability for offensive, defensive and homeland security operations.
The news follows the operational debut of the US Air Force's 'Gorgon Stare' development earlier in the year which sees the Wide Area Airborne Surveillance (WAAS) sensor complete with nine EO/IR cameras, flying across Afghanistan on board Predator B UAVs.
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