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U.S. Combat Vehicles get enhanced vision


June 2, 2006

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June 3, 2006 “What you can’t see can’t hurt you,” might have been excellent advice from dad when you were fretful in your cot as a child, but it’s not true on the battlefield. Indeed, what you can’t see is the thing most likely to kill you and when it comes to keeping soldiers alive, enhanced situational awareness is the key. That’s why the U.S. Army has commissioned BAE Systems to develop vastly enhanced situational awareness capability for U combat vehicles. The resultant Distributed Aperture System (DAS) will enable the vehicle driver, crew members, and soldiers riding inside to “see” through the armour of the vehicle, providing enhanced situational awareness for driving and before dismounting. The DAS provides independent, simultaneous, closed-hatched hemispherical views of the area surrounding the vehicle. It can function day or night, and when the vehicle is moving or stationary.

DAS will be developed and demonstrated for the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate. The two-year program will culminate with BAE Systems’ installation of the DAS on an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle modified to simulate a notional vehicle crew station. “DAS answers a dire need for our mounted war fighters by giving them situational awareness they need right now — in both urban warfare settings and in open terrain,” said Jim Bob Bryant, Tactical Decision Systems Director for BAE Systems at Austin, Texas. Camera pods mounted around the vehicle will provide a combined field of view that covers 360 degrees and a view from the horizon to directly above the vehicle. The cameras operate in both visible and long-wave-length spectral bands. The real-time images from the vehicle’s exterior are seamlessly merged so war fighters inside can easily, safely, and effectively view the entire environment around them. BAE Systems will use the company’s uncooled long-wave infrared cameras for its imaging capability.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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