Elbit unveils airborne surveillance system

SkEy WAPS Photo: Elbit Systems
SkEy WAPS Photo: Elbit Systems

The Israeli company's "Eye in the Sky," for military and homeland security purposes, photographs and records 10 areas simultaneously.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is offering security agencies chasing terrorists its new surveillance systems: SkEy WAPS, known in Hebrew as an "Eye in the Sky." The system will be unveiled this week at the Paris Air Show. The developers of the system are portraying it as "a game changer in the war against terrorism" and a tool that will make the regular security missions burdening police forces and security agencies in a chaotic situation significantly easier. How chaotic? Ask the Paris policemen what they did when the coordinated terrorist attack was taking place that included dozens of victims in one scene, several more fatalities in a nearby street, and cries from the wounded in another attack at the other end of the city.

Such situations are typical during the prolonged confusion and uncertainty. The occurrence of such events in crowded urban spaces complicate the creation of a clear and up-to-date intelligence picture that will make it possible to track the attack squads and take control of the event, while preventing the development of additional bloody scenes. At a height of 25,000-30,000 feet, the system is able to photograph and broadcast in real time to ground stations events taking place in no fewer than 10 different points of interest within a radius of 80 kilometers. A camera is installed at the base of the system that provides a simultaneous view of many theaters through "straws" systems - each straw is aimed at a different area of interest defined according to the operational need on the ground, and according to how the event develops.

In recent days, the company displayed its system to Israeli journalists when it was installed on the underside of its flagship UAV, the Hermes 900, which is capable of remaining airborne for 36 consecutive hours. This capability ensures the operators of the system the ability to conduct continuous and prolonged tracking, day and night, in all weather conditions, following the event in any location.

The SkEy WAPS was developed in order to provide security agencies with what they so badly need in situations in which an intelligence warning of a terrorist attack is received, but the warning is not focused enough to allow deployment of forces in a specific location. "When a general warning is received, the aim is to obtain as much information as possible in as little time as possible. Through our system, an area of 80 square kilometers can be covered, through a big eye constantly photographing what is taking place," explains Elbit Systems Aerospace Department senior director technology business development Yair Ganor. "The data consists of high-definition-quality video films that the system broadcasts to its operators, while these are recorded and stored in its unique high-volume storage unit. If another attack takes place in the same area hours after the UAV was operated, it orders a focus on the relevant areas where it took place, and the recorded and stored materials make it possible to go back in time and analyze the route of the suspicious vehicle used in the attacks, while at the same time completely tracking its route, including the place it came from."

In addition to its ability to "travel back in time," the system makes it possible to simultaneously track and observe many points of interest in the defined area. For example, if the irregular event takes place in the vicinity of a large tourist site, the system is able to provide its operators with close-ups of the event's location, additional video films of the traffic arteries in the nearby areas, and more films of the event at the same time in more remote streets. "There is a paradigmatic change here," says Ganor.

"From the previous capabilities of photographing one area of interest, this system makes it possible to arrive at a situation in which photographs of 10 areas of interest can be simultaneously taken and recorded. In order to receive the output that this system provides on one flight of a UAV, up until now, it would have been necessary to use several helicopters or UAVs to photograph the same points separately."

Elbit Systems says that the system was sold to several customers around the world, but declined to disclose which countries bought it. One country known to have procured the system is Brazil. In the coming days, it will be displayed at the Paris Air Show in an attempt to unveil it to additional potential customers.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 18, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

SkEy WAPS Photo: Elbit Systems
SkEy WAPS Photo: Elbit Systems
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