Military intelligence-gathering’s “sixth sense”

Sensors. Very advanced sensors. This is the keyword in the current hottest game. Sensors are, in most cases, the difference between a successful attack on an enemy target and a complete failure.

As the enemy hides targets or camouflages them, the sensors must get smarter. In recent days, the Electro-optics (Elop) division of Israel’s Elbit Systems, one of the leading military sensor developers in the world, has revealed limited details about the new hyperspectral payload.

According to the company, the new payload enables simultaneous imaging of the region of interest at different wavelengths. The system is capable of imaging a target’s spectral signature, which is unique to every material in nature, just like a fingerprint.

Using very sensitive imaging technology, the system can perform remote sensing by distinguishing most colours at a broad spectral range and at an extremely high resolution.

Elop says that the hyperspectral technology introduces an additional dimension to the world of intelligence-gathering, by enabling detection and tracking of targets on the basis of their material signature. The new payload enables intelligence-gathering via identification, measurement and tracking of materials and objects, including uncovering low-signature military activity and invisible obstacles, as well as identification of hazardous materials. The airborne hyperspectral system is also complemented by a ground segment that provides automatic interpretation of the images/data and a mission-planning system.

Elbit Systems has completed the development of the technology, and has recently conducted a series of successful test flights.

The company has prepared a “bank” of reflections sensed by the hyperspectral payload. This will allow this super-advanced payload, when carried by the Elbit Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 unmanned air systems (UAS), to detect targets that otherwise would have been undetectable.

Sources say that Elbit’s new system will introduce very advanced “breakthrough” capabilities to the world of military sensors.

Sensors can now see, listen, use radar to detect and use SAR radar to detect in difficult conditions. Now there is one more sensor to support the effort.

When targets are well-hidden or moving fast, the sensors must outsmart them. The new sensor does exactly that.

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