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C4iSR: Air

General Atomics integrates its SkyGuardian UAS with L-3 Wescam's MX-20 EO/IR imaging system

05 June 2019
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General Atomics integrates its SkyGuardian UAS with L-3 Wescam's MX-20 EO/IR imaging system. Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA‐ASI) plans to integrate its SkyGuardian and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with L3 WESCAM's MX-20 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging system, the company announced on 29 May.

The MX-20 system is designed for high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, target, acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations, deployment onto long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and persistent surveillance missions. It uses a gyro-stabilised sensor turret that features high magnification optics. The modular design of the system supports up to seven sensor payloads simultaneously, which comprise a colour daylight CCD camera with zoom lens, a colour (or monochrome) daylight camera with four-step spotter lens, a night camera with four-step spotter lens, a thermal imager with high magnification four-step zoom, a laser rangefinder, and two choices of laser illuminator/pointer.

The system provides more than ×400 magnification in the EO sensor and more than ×75 magnification in the IR sensor, combined with a high-performance gyro-stabilisation system. The turrets six-axis vibration isolation and five-axis gyro-stabilisation guarantees a low line-of-sight jitter to allow high accuracy pointing capability.

In addition, the system uses Enhanced Local Area Processing (ELAP) to improve feature recognition, increase stand-off range, and maximum haze penetration in long-range surveillance missions.

"Team SkyGuardian is a significant benefit to L3 WESCAM and provides more opportunities for the modular growth path of the WESCAM MX-20 as mission portfolios evolve and the battlespace continues to change on a global scale," L3 WESCAM vice-president and general manager Jacques Comtois said. "MX systems are the eyes of customers across more than 80 countries worldwide."

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