In late May, Logos Technologies delivered the first payload upgrade to the Kestrel wide-area sensor, employed on U.S. Navy and Army aerostats in Afghanistan. The new hardware will provide better image stability, increased system reliability, and easier maintenance of Kestrel units already in the field.
A critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset in safeguarding troops operating in and around forward operating bases, the operational, 360-degree persistent surveillance system is light enough to be mounted on an aerostat. The technology allows sensor operators to scan a city sized area, 24 hours a day, for weeks at a time.
Kestrel also allows operators to create “watch boxes” within the sensor’s larger field of view. The system will automatically monitor those areas and trigger an alarm if someone enters them. The sensor user can then investigate the area, cueing a hi-resolution MX camera to provide supporting imagery.
Besides force protection, Kestrel facilitates the intelligence collection process by recording events within its field of view, allowing analysts to identify actions that deviate from the normal pattern of life. Operators can run this DVR-like function in one window while tracking real-time activity in another.
In addition to recent payload improvements, Logos Technologies has been delivering software upgrades to the manned ground stations controlling the airborne sensor. The upgrades increase Kestrel’s processing power and storage, allowing for larger fields of view and a rewind capability that extends beyond 30 days. Finally, a new forensic bookmark database was added to boost pattern-of-life data exploitation.
Kestrel is an advanced version of Constant Hawk, first deployed in 2006 as part of a Quick Reaction Capability. Also developed by Logos Technologies, this early persistent surveillance system has flown on Shorts 360 and MC-12W Liberty aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively. In late 2010, Army G2 and the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Command engaged Logos Technologies to develop a Constant Hawk-like sensor for an aerostat, and within 12 months, an interim electro-optical solution was deployed to Afghanistan. This temporary system was later replaced by day/night sensors.
Currently, there are 10 day/night Kestrels, plus an equal number of spares, at forward operating bases in Afghanistan. Another 8 sensors and 8 backup systems were scheduled for delivery by October.
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