24 August 2010


Goodrich launches lightweight SWIR camera for 24-hour imaging from hand-launched UAVs

Goodrich Corp of Charlotte, NC, USA has introduced what is claimed to be the smallest SWaP (size, weight and power) shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera for unmanned vehicles. The camera weighs less than 4.5 ounces and has a total volume of less than 4.9 cubic inches, making it suitable to fit on board almost any unmanned aerial or ground vehicle.

The new camera, developed by Goodrich’s ISR Systems team in Princeton, NJ (formerly Sensors Unlimited Inc), features the firm’s proprietary indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) technology to see light wavelengths from 0.7 to 1.7 microns, whereas traditional night-vision cameras can detect wavelengths only up to roughly 1 micron. The new camera's expanded capabilities allow the user to detect and track a wide range of military lasers, day or night, with exceptional clarity, it is claimed.

Currently, the camera is installed in the nosecone of a Raven hand-launched unmanned aerial system (UAS). It augments the thermal night imaging capabilities of an accompanying a 320x240-resolution long-wave infrared (LWIR) microbolometer by enabling visual verification of laser location and imaging during thermal crossover — the hours of sunrise and sunset — when the performance of traditional thermal imaging systems is degraded.

“The Goodrich SWIR camera, combined with the LWIR microbolometer on the same platform, allows 24-hour coverage from a single unmanned aerial system,” says Martin Ettenberg, director of business development for Goodrich’s ISR Systems Princeton team. “This provides warfighters new capabilities and new concept of operations while meeting the low-SWaP requirements of the modern battlefield,” he adds. “It also eases the physical burden on warfighters by allowing them to carry a single camera payload.”

Goodrich is showcasing its SWIR cameras for UAV applications at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America 2010 show this week (24–27 August) at the Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO.

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