The Predator UAVs return to Bosnia with enhanced surveillance capability; Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. provides commercial off-the-shelf computers to upgrade surveillance of troop and weapons movements.
Predator, an unmanned surveillance plane, was developed by General Atomics Aeronautics Systems, Inc. based in San Diego, Calif.
The Tactical Endurance SAR system (TESAR), developed by Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group (now Northrop Grumman Electronic Sensors and Systems Division), an associate contractor on this project, has completed the test phase and will move to deployment in Bosnia aboard Predator. Aided by Mercury's high-performance computers, TESAR gives Predator an all-weather real-time surveillance capability and will assist the NATO commanders by monitoring troop and weapons movements as they continue to implement the peace agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio, earlier this year.
"This is a classic example of how the new military is using advanced COTS technologies to gain rapid advantages in the field," said James R. Bertelli, CEO and President of Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. "The same standard COTS products are in wide use in numerous military programs as well as commercial applications, such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in hospitals."
High resolution SAR operates from the Ku through UHF bands and provides either wide-area coverage (strip-map mode) or point-target surveillance (Spotlight SAR mode). The latter allows the location and identification of objects viewed from 26,000 feet within an area as small as one square foot.
An earlier version of the Predator system was first deployed in Bosnia in July 1995, where it conducted almost daily reconnaissance operations in combat environment for U.S. and NATO forces. The newly upgraded version carrying the U.S. military's most sophisticated radar and cameras will be sent to Bosnia this month.
"This is an important step in further developing the Joint Endurance UAV programs," said John N. Entzminger, an Institute for Defense Analysis advisor to Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO). "By using COTS products, DARO has been able to bring this program to an early deployment in Bosnia in record time."
Predator, also known as TIER II, has been produced as a quick reaction program supervised by DARO. This program allows the Pentagon to quickly demonstrate new and advanced technologies and to assess their potential for wider military use. Apart from TIER II, Mercury's computer systems are also used in TIER II Plus (in development) and TIER III Minus (Dark Star).
Mercury has a history of successfully supporting complex military projects which have had "rapid development" as a principle measure of success. Since Mercury's RACE(R) systems are designed to be open and scalable, users have the ability to configure their systems in a variety of topologies with large numbers of different types of processors and high-performance I/O devices.
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. is a technology company specializing in application-specific signal processing solutions for diverse markets ranging from defense and security to medical diagnostic and commercial image processing. Mercury's RACE(R) series, with its building block approach to hardware and software, allows customers to build the most effective system for their application. The company's advanced interconnect fabric, RACEway Interlink, was recently adopted as an ANSI standard. Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. is headquartered in Chelmsford, and has offices throughout North America, Asia and Europe. With more than 30,000 units installed worldwide, Mercury serves customers in 14 countries.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. on WWW:
TIER II Medium Altitude Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
o System Description:
The MAE UAV Predator Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD), is a 30-month demonstration program with two years of follow-on contractor support. The system is designed to provide long-range, long-dwell, near real-time IMINT (Image Intelligence) to satisfy reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition mission requirements.
o Derivative of Gnat 750, the first UAV deployed to the Bosnia theater. o Deployed to Bosnia in summer 1995 o Tactical Endurance SAR (TESAR) all-weather capability o Expanded EO/IR payload o Satellite control o GPS and INS o Over 24 hours on station at 500 NM o Operations to 26,000 feet o 465 LB payload o Span 48 feet, length 28 feet o Speeds to 120 KIAS o Military and non-military uses:
o Extended reconnaissance, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons detection and treaty monitoring
o Counter-narcotics support
o Coastal and border surveillance, and embargo enforcement
o Humanitarian and disaster relief
o International peacekeeping support
o Counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism operations
o Civil/Commercial applications:
o Synoptic viewing of selected areas, events, activities, or site inspection
o Commercial communications relay, or provision of immediate cellular connectivity over an area of interest
o Earth environmental monitoring
o Transportation and delivery of commercial goods and services
o The use of UAVs for non-governmental functions is projected to yield a commercial market of $2 billion annually as early as 2005.
Source: DARO; General Atomics; UAV-95 Conference in Paris, June 1995.
CONTACT: Mercury Computer Systems Inc.
Leigh McLeod, 508/256-1300
Coltrin & Associates
Krystyna Stachowiak, 212/221-1616