April 17, 2012

Northrop Grumman Silent Watch distributed aperture system demonstrated on surface vessel

A team of Northrop Grumman engineers recently successfully demonstrated the capability of the company’s Silent Watch Electro-Optical Infrared Distributed Aperture System to enable a surface vessel to sense and track threats.

The Silent Watch EO/DAS was originally designed and developed by Northrop Grumman to provide 360-degree situational awareness for F-35 pilots. The innovative threat warning system may soon provide invaluable situational awareness for manned and unmanned surface and submarine platform applications.

The maritime applications of the EO/DAS involved the strategic placement of multiple EO/IR sensors onboard the Sperry Star III research vessel, a Northrop Grumman Naval and Marine Systems surface ship test platform. The test demonstration proved that, when employed at sea, high resolution, near-real-time images generated by Silent Watch can be displayed and relayed to friendly forces.

“The adaptation of this powerful, proven avionics technology for maritime applications offers the opportunity to greatly extend a ship’s ability to sense and track threats,” said Dave Perry, vice-president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Naval and Marine Systems Division. “This demonstration also shows the potential of integrating systems created for separate platforms and purposes.”

Aboard the Sperry Star III, Silent Watch tracked surface and airborne targets autonomously. The system uses multiple sensors to provide a seamless, hemispherical (360-degree) day or night picture with exceptional resolution capabilities. It can autonomously detect and track surface ships and aircraft plus potential threats such as ballistic and cruise missiles. Silent Watch can also significantly improve watchstander awareness.

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