Wednesday, November 3, 2010

UAV persistent surveillance at night using staring infrared sensors is goal of DARPA ARGUS-IR contract to BAE Systems

Infrared sensor specialists at the BAE Systems Electronic Solutions sector in Nashua, N.H., are developing the advanced processor for a military nighttime persistent surveillance system of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., that uses staring infrared sensors for long-term persistent surveillance of battlefields and urban areas from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Officials of the DARPA Information Processing Techniques Office are asking BAE Systems to build the Airborne Processing Subsystem (APS) and high-resolution infrared sensor subsystem for the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance - Infrared (ARGUS-IR) system under terms of a $49.9 million contract, awarded Thursday. The ARGUS-IR UAV persistent surveillance system will provide real-time, high-resolution, nighttime video surveillance to detect and track events on battlefields and in urban areas from UAVs. BAE has already developed a daytime persistent surveillance system for DARPA.

The BAE Systems APS will process and store imagery from the infrared sensor and send 256 independent 640-by-480-pixel video streams over a 200-megabit-per-second data link. The APS also can downlink automatically detected moving target metadata and image chips. BAE Systems will to conduct the system's first flight test by the in spring 2012.

"ARGUS-IR further expands military capability by providing 24-hour, day-night reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities over a much wider area than previously possible," says Dr. John Antoniades, ARGUS program manager and director of ISR technology for BAE Systems. The DARPA ARGUS-IR program manager is Dr Brian Leininger.

BAE System first flew its ARGUS-IR's predecessor, the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance - Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) last October aboard a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to test the system's video windows for persistent area surveillance and tracking of vehicles and foot soldiers.

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