Military Embedded Systems

Target-tracking sensor tested on U.S. Army drones


June 13, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Target-tracking sensor tested on U.S. Army drones
Photo courtesy Elbit Systems

FAIRFAX, Virginia. The BlackKite infrared wide-area motion imagery (IR-WAMI) system was recently tested on a U.S. Army Group 4 uncrewed aerial system (UAS) at the Experimentation Demonstration Gateway Event (EDGE) 23, according to a statement from Logos Technologies, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems. This demonstration was held at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, the previous month.

During EDGE 23, the BlackKite WAMI sensor was used for experimental long-range detection and identification missions, showcasing its ability to image, track, and record activities across an area comparable to a city's size, the statement reads. The Group 4 UAS used for this test will serve as a surrogate for a future Air-Launched Effects (ALE) drone the Army plans to develop.

The BlackKite sensor has a weight of about 38 pounds in its podded version, allowing it to be mounted on various platforms, including planes, helicopters, and Group 3 or larger uncrewed systems, the company says, adding that the addition of BlackKite only adds 25 pounds to the system if placed inside an existing payload bay.

The sensor can image a 16 square kilometer area from an altitude of 12,000 feet, tracking multiple moving vehicles in real-time, and its onboard processor can store over eight hours of geo-referenced imagery, the statement reads.

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