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Short-Wave Infrared capability for the ScanEagle UAV

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August 7, 2008

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August 8, 2008 The ScanEagle is a low-cost, long-endurance autonomous unmanned aircraft that has been one of the most significant new battlefield technologies to emerge during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, performing more than 100,000 combat hours in both theatres and delivering invaluable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) on a daily basis. The only trouble is that conventional electro-optical and long-wave infrared cameras are severely limited in fog or rain. Now they’ve managed to miniaturize a short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera to fit inside the diminutive ScanEagle, enabling clear vision in any circumstance.

This latest development is the work of ScanEagle’s creator, Boeing, and technology specialists Goodrich and Insitu and the new toy has been successfully flight-tested already.

The camera, built by Goodrich's Sensors Unlimited unit, enables ScanEagle operators to see objects more clearly in fog, rain or when little or no heat is radiated. During recent tests at the Fort Leonard Wood test range in Missouri, the camera recorded clear, streaming video during daytime, twilight and nighttime operations. The Boeing-led team, which integrated the camera in less than 14 weeks, plans additional flight tests later this year.

The idea for the SWIR camera arose specifically to meet growing maritime ISR needs, but we’re sure the U.S. and Australian forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan will greatly appreciate the new capability, as it eliminates opposing forces’ ability to use inclement weather as a shield to movement.

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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