Sentient, Airborne Technologies and Phoenix Aerospace Collaborate
Sentient Vision Systems (Australia), Airborne Technologies (Austria) and Phoenix Aerospace (UK and UAE) have combined their expertise and capabilities to create a Middle East centre of excellence for sensor integration that will focus on introducing the AW-139 ViDAR [Visual Detection and Ranging] Self-Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) pod to the regional market, the companies announced at Dubai 2021 on 14 November.
The latest iteration of the ViDAR pod family, recently demonstrated by Diamond Aircraft in Belgium, is specifically dsigned for SAR and ISR missions in both defence and governmental agencies, addressing a vibrant and rapidly growing market. “This collaboration will provide a fully certified, integrated ViDAR optical radar capability for maritime search and surveillance operations for our key customers,” commented Sentient’s Managing Director, Dr Paul Boxer.
Phoenix Aerospace’s Managing Director, Tony Okill, explained that the agreement “[…] not only places the UAE front and centre of this dynamic industry, but importantly ensures that the ViDAR optical sensor system become[s] the chosen solution for a range of applications and platforms operating within the UAE.”
Wolfgang Grumeth, CEO of Airborne Technologies, added “This technology is a ‘must-have’ for state-of-the-art SAR operations, and […] we are keen to offer the ViDAR system also as a flexible solution as part of our SCAR-Pod family, providing additional surveillance capabilities for existing rotary- and fixed-wing fleets, without extensive modification effort.”
The ViDAR AI and Computer Vision software scans the EO/IR sensor feed to detect targets invisible to a human operator, ‘planting’ a thumbnail image with range and bearing on the operator’s display and allowing for automated cross-cueing. The system has up to 300 times greater search coverage than an aircraft lacking the ViDAR solution, when searching for a human-sized object at sea, the company claims.
Sentient already has over 3,000 systems deployed worldwide, providing SAR, ISR, law enforcement, border protection and other security functionality to a wide range of agencies. The three companies together will offer a full-spectrum marketing and service solution to customers in the region.