Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
National Defense > Blog > Posts > DARPA Doubling Down on Spy Technologies
DARPA Doubling Down on Spy Technologies
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to increase investments in aerial surveillance systems. Long-endurance aerostats, autonomous sensors and other ISR (intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance) technologies are among the agency's top priorities, said Ellison “Dick” Urban, special assistant for strategic execution and analysis at DARPA.

Declining budgets mean that DARPA has had narrow down its wish list, and agency leaders have determined global ISR to be one of the most important study areas, Urban said April 17 at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual science and engineering technology conference.

U.S. drones in Iraq and Afghanistan have been relatively unchallenged, but the next conflict may require ISR operations in contested airspace. So DARPA is looking into sensors that would be powerful enough to fly in friendly airspace and peer into countries where access is denied.

In addition to persistence, DARPA is focusing on higher resolution imagery and wider view sensors.

“Every combatant commander has this problem,” Urban said. Wider views and higher resolutions usually don’t come in the same package. Either it’s one or the other, he said.

DARPA is addressing some of the demands with ARGUS, or autonomous real-time ground ubiquitous surveillance. It is like taking the views that the Predator drone gets and multiplying it by 65, Urban said. The system depicts one large image containing 65 windows. An operator can take any of those  windows, zoom in and track a target.

ARGUS has been used on A-160 Hummingbird unmanned helicopters by both U.S. Central Command and Southern Command with positive results, he said.

But analysts already complain that they are receiving too much data from ISR assets. DARPA used to focus more heavily on sensors and less on exploitation of the information they collect. Now, the investments are about equal, Urban said.

DARPA’s video image and retrieval analysis tool, or VIRAT aims to create an easily searchable database of video feeds from drones. VIRAT would be able to do a search through archives to find related videos. For instance, the system could cull up all footage of people digging or running or vehicles doing U-turns. With 30 minutes of raw footage, it may take an analyst alone more than 300 minutes to find what he is looking for, Urban said. With VIRAT, it would take about 90 minutes, he said.

DARPA also is looking to improve underwater sensors. The distributed agile submarine hunting program, or DASH, aims to create a network of small unmanned underwater vehicles that scan upwards from deep in the sea to detect quiet diesel electric subs. The technology also would give operators a look into abysmal plains deep on the ocean floor.

After subs are found, a small unmanned surface vessel could track and trail them at speeds up to 30 knots. The second phase of the anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel program, or ACTUV, is slated to begin in July.



Comments

There are no comments yet for this post.
Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights. More information on content approval.

Name: *

eMail *

Comment *

Title

Attachments

Name: *


eMail *


Comment *


 

Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.

Characters *

  

Legal Notice *

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 

 

Bookmark and Share