Jan 26 2011
Lockheed Martin has just bagged a $15 million order from the US Army. The order stipulates that the company will produce a module of TV capability with low light levels.
The module, named VNsight will be put to use in the army’s Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS). The application is also called the Arrowhead. The sensor is incorporated into the PNVS, to enable the army personnel to see in dimly lit environment.
The first batch of around 65 sensors along with spare parts will be used by two Apache battalions. The company will also offer initially cameras for a Foreign Military Sales customer. The systems are later to be upgraded as field retrofit. The Missiles and Fire Control divisions of the company will manufacture the lens besides merging it into the system. The company’s Mission Systems and Sensors division based in Akron, OH, are to manufacture the camera for the sensor.
By merging the VNsight imagery with that of the M-PNVS, pilots will be able to view both civilian and military light sources such as beacons, markers, lasers etc that are precisely located inside the thermal image across the entire 30-by-40° vision periphery of the sensor. The improved vision in low light conditions guarantees more secure conditions for pilots to fly their aircraft in. This feature also enables viewing in conditions where the light cannot be registered by the FLIR.
The ability to register light sources in-band ensures that pilots are able to view some laser pointer and enhance coordination with other units on the ground. The sensor, in addition to all these benefits, allows pilots to understand where their own craft is when picking targets for their military soirees, making sure that the exact target is being designated. The improved air to ground coordination also minimizes risk.