News story

Developing lightweight wide-area infrared surveillance

Case study from Selex ES Ltd who pitched their ideas to industry and investors at the CDE Marketplace on 27 April 2016.

Clouds seen from above.

Credit: Jakec, source: Wikimedia Commons.

Selex ES Ltd has been funded by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to study and develop a lightweight wide-area infrared (IR) surveillance system.

The system is for use with high-altitude pseudo satellites (HAPS), which are lightweight and solar powered with durations of days or weeks at a time.

HAPS platforms must have very low size, weight and power loads. Selex ES has used novel materials and manufacturing techniques, and taken advantage of the low ambient temperature in the HAPS environment to reduce the amount of cooling required by the sensor. These measures combined enable a mid-wave IR camera with significantly lower size, weight and power to be produced.

A number of alternative design options have been assessed and Selex ES is now hoping to take a design concept to the final prototype design, manufacture and test phase.

Stuart Duncan, Head of Capability at Selex ES said:

The CDE competition on lightweight surveillance was a good match to our strategic plan for future airborne EO (electro-optic) sensors. The execution of this project will reduce the risk on a number of key new technologies and give us a building block towards a potential persistent wide area surveillance system product.

Selex ES is part of the Finmeccanica group. The company has recently been rebranded and the parts of the company relevant to this project are now Finmeccanica Airborne and Space Systems Division and Finmeccanica Land and Naval Defence Electronics Division.

View the pitch presentation slides.

About CDE

CDE funds novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research. We work with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to develop cost-effective capabilities for UK armed forces and national security.

CDE is part of Dstl.

Centre for Defence Enterprise

Building R103
Fermi Avenue

Harwell Oxford
OX11 0QX

Please email for the quickest response.

Published 19 April 2016