October 11, 2011
Contract Award: ITT to provide motion video and wide area airborne surveillance capabilities for US Army
References: ITT (1,2), Avionics Intelligence (3)
As announced on a recent press release, The United States government has awarded ITT a contract to provide software and hardware solutions tied to the collection, processing and dissemination of full motion video (FMV) and wide area airborne surveillance (WAAS) from unmanned aircraft.
ITT will deliver its solutions, including the FELCO™ (Federated Embedded inteL-server for Collaborative Operations) processing solution, to the U.S. Army Project Manager-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PM-UAS) early this fall in support of planned system flight tests and assessments.
FELCO was jointly developed with Mercury Computer Systems, a trusted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) subsystems provider.
The Technology (FELCO)
FELCO is expected to be the fastest means of transforming raw sensor imagery and metadata from airborne surveillance platforms into assured geospatial intelligence in a small, open-standards configuration while a mission is on station.
FELCO enables DVR-like interactions in which the user can stop, rewind, review in slow motion and resume live video. FELCO gives the user the ability to customize the content of the information stream according to changing conditions.
The processing system forms information layers, including standards-based imagery and video, GPS, and moving target indicators, and transmits to one or more users in a standards-based interoperable format.
Developed and supported on Mercury’s Application-Ready Subsystems™ (ARS™), FELCO leverages the company’s high-performance Powerblock™ processing architecture and ITT’s open-standards PED software, Enhanced AGILE Access, and AdLib™.
To date, FELCO has already been adapted to provide interoperability with EO/IR, SAR and FMV sensors and it has emerged that GMTI systems are next on the agenda. It is envisaged that FELCO will eventually be sensor and platform agnostic, ITT and MCS urged
FELCO also reduces technological and economic barriers to potential use by first responders and non U.S. customers for a range of noncombat applications. The size and power requirements of FELCO will enable it to be used in a variety of other rugged airborne, mobile and fixed configurations, including aerostats, rotary, catapult- and runway-launched air platforms, and surveillance towers. Capacity can be quickly scaled to multiple platforms through distributed processor and multi-core configurations.
ITT was contracted to develop and demonstrate an expanded capability for the U.S. Army’s FUSE program (Federated Universal Synchronization Engine), increasing the effectiveness of Army unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) serving the warfighter. The FUSE program has made significant progress in transforming single-user, down-linked feeds into federated video sensors between “collaborative” UAS and other intelligence systems.
ITT will update the existing FUSE systems with advanced open-standards FMV software capabilities, deliver multiple FELCO solutions to remove limitations inherent with ground computing shelters, and deliver a WAAS motion imagery client-server simulator.
“Our deliverables are congruent with the PM-UAS roadmap for FUSE and collectively advance the approach to delivering FMV and WAAS sensor modalities to users,” stated Matthew Pellechia, manager, Geospatial Information Solutions, part of ITT Defense & Information Solutions. “Our joint solution provides PM-UAS with a PED (processing, exploitation, and dissemination) capability, constructed upon an open-architecture to synthesize volumes of multi-INT information into formats that directly respond to warfighter requirements.”
“FELCO is an extremely high-performance, real-time solution for PED applications (processing, exploitation, and dissemination) on board UAV platforms that can substantially improve the user’s ability to obtain situational awareness in real time,” said Brian E. Perry, vice president and general manager of Services and Systems Integration at Mercury Computer Systems. “Its quick adoption by the U.S. government underscores its importance as a critical tool in supporting mission success.”