Business

August 7, 2012

GA-ASI successfully tests Nightlighter airborne imaging system

Nightlighter images: Scene is the Assembly Area at Olympus test site, Cactus Flats, China Lake, Calif., September 2011. Night imagery contains no shadows, and NIR has different reflectivity than the Visible. The dark tire marks in the night imagery (left) is moist soil, which strongly absorbs the laser energy at 880 nm.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., announced the successful flight test of its Nightlighter airborne imaging system Aug. 7.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is a leading manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft, tactical reconnaissance radars and electro-optic surveillance systems.

A prototype Nightlighter system was successfully flight tested and demonstrated on a Twin Otter aircraft during the Olympus Flight Test sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization at China Lake, Calif. GA-ASI is currently developing a program to deploy the system on King Air 350 aircraft.

“Identifying and defeating IEDs before they detonate is one of today’s most pressing ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance] challenges,” said Dr. Michael Perry, vice president, Reconnaissance Systems Group, GA-ASI. “Nightlighter’s ultra high-resolution imagery not only detects IEDs in day or night, but also can be processed rapidly into precision, wide-area, three-dimensional relief maps of terrain and structures that are of high value to both mission planners and the warfighter.”

Under development since 2010, Nightlighter is a high-altitude airborne imaging system designed to detect Improvised Explosive Devices and other implanted devices along roads and other routes of travel. The system uses both standard cameras for operation in daylight and advanced night imaging technology to collect imagery under darkness.

Nightlighter delivers around-the-clock, ultra high-resolution imagery and is derived from GA-ASI’s proven daylight-only, Highlighter electro-optic sensor system. Developed in 2005, Highlighter recently completed a very successful six-year deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. GA-ASI plans to conduct a series of additional flight tests under both daylight and nighttime conditions to validate the effectiveness of the Nightlighter platform further.




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