GLOBAL DEFENSE MARKET
New Small Wide Area Sensor in Development
The sensor is stored inside an aerodynamic pod that weighs less than 35 pounds. It can be attached to helicopters, light planes and tactical drones, such as TigerSharks, Shadows and Blackjacks, said Gus Moore, program manager for Redkite.
“Many of our competitors currently have systems which are much larger and … require much larger platforms or specifically modified platforms” to operate, he said. “Instead of something that can be added to the platforms that exist in the agency’s fleet they end up being a platform and system of their own right.”
The system operates as high as 12,000 feet, he said. From that vantage point, the sensor can see out about four kilometers in diameter. Redkite collects about one terabyte worth of data per hour, he said.
“We take all of that data and we run it through automated processing that’s built into the sensor itself so it rides on the aircraft,” he said. Using a secure data link, that information can be transferred to users on the ground.
Law enforcement agencies would be ideal customers, Moore said. The system can autonomously track vehicles or individuals in a particular area based on “rules” established by the user. They can be alerted when there is movement in a certain area or when a target has left a designated space, for example.
Drug enforcement agencies have expressed interest in the system, he added.
“We’re not talking about using it to look for individual dealers or the like,” Moore said. “We’re talking more about identifying over time transport networks, safe houses … [and] distribution and storage nodes.”
The company is currently running tests on the system and plans to have it ready for delivery in 2016, he said. It will cost less than $1 million, he added.