As frequent followers of MONCh are aware, the surveillance sector is rapidly evolving in terms of customer expectations and requirements. FLIR Systems is one company in the sector, which is keeping ahead of the military user’s insatiable demand for more high-fidelity imagery by delivering high definition, thermal imagery with basically all details in a scene – even at 15,000ft [4.6km] – and other outcomes.
The days of an operator simply looking at a screen, and finding and reporting a target of interest are in the dustbin of history. Adam DeAngelis, Director of Marketing for Surveillance at the company pointed out: “There’s so much information now you have to make so many decisions. What we’re seeing in requirements in the air sector, and sometimes they are not specifically spelled out but you can tell that is where they want to go, is how do we decrease the workload for the user. This is especially true in an airborne platform, in the cockpit, to allow the flight crew to ‘do their job’ and accomplish the mission, yet, give them more and more information to do that, analyse that and make a decision – we’re going from situational awareness to situational understanding.”
Concurrently, FLIR hasn’t lost its focus on other, persistent requirements for airborne sensors and like payloads – reducing cost, size and weight, and increasing power, and moving the technology bar to the next level for gimbles, laser designators and other components – with the caveat of using its products to allow its military customer to complete the mission with minimal manpower.
DeAngelis also updated MONCh on FLIR’s significant, most recent contracts with the US Air Force.
The service’s venerable UH-1Ns help defend US Strategic Command nuclear missile sites. Until the service buys new helicopters, one of the programme modernisation efforts is taking delivery of FLIR’s Star SAFIRE 380-HDc single LRU (line-replaceable unit) imaging systemme providing a full spectrum of ISR capabilities.
FLIR is also providing unspecified Targeting Sensors equipment to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) for integration on Afghan Air Force Embraer A-29 Super TUCANO being delivered through US Foreign Military Sales. “And we also have a quite a few other programmes supporting unspecified, large and small fixed wing aircraft operations around the world,” the industry expert said.
With an eye on future programmes, FLIR is providing its Star SAFIRE 380-HLD to the SNC-led team competing the A-29 in the US Air Force light attack/observation aircraft effort.
With respect to new products, Mr DeAngelis encouraged MONCh readers to, “look in the next few months for a product to enhance the user experience. We will have some exciting announcements soon.”