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ITT Exelis and the feds looking down on you?

* | 10.07.2012 09:20 | Smash EDO | South Coast

Airborne military recon and surveillance technology being adapted in the USA by ITT Exelis for domestic security agency use.

ITT Exelis and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will demonstrate its new Vigilant Stare wide-area airborne surveillance (WAAS) system to several US agencies over the next two months, it has been revealed.

The two companies used the Farnborough International Airshow to formally launch the Vigilant Stare system, which is based on technology used on board the US Air Force's (USAF) 'Gorgon Stare' UAVs but is tailored for domestic security agency applications.

Speaking to Shephard at the air show, Sreekanth Danny Rajan, director of emerging/airborne solutions geospatial systems, said the concept behind Vigilant Stare was to provide a commercial-based, persistent WAAS capability through a range of acquisition options – system buy, lease, or data buy.

‘Our feeling is that there is a real gap in the market for this kind of capability. There are customers without the funding or time to build a complete programme but have a requirement for this kind of wide-area surveillance. So we decided to invest our own funds to develop a commercial capability,’ Rajan said.

Initial flight tests in the US on a Twin Otter aircraft have already demonstrated aspects of the capability, including sending sensor data from the aircraft to a handheld device on the ground, and the system is expected to reach an initial operational capability in August.

Aimed at providing coverage of city-sized areas, the nine-camera payload – which is based on the Night Owl system – simultaneously covers three tiers: 4km by 4km full field of regard; multiple sub-views of the full field of view; and best-resolution ‘tactical chip-outs’.