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FARNBOROUGH: FLIR reveals second generation HD surveillance system

FLIR Systems is unveiling at Farnborough a second generation of high-definition, long-range surveillance systems for aircraft.

The new family of gryro-stabilised turrets - including the 380HD, 350HD and 230HD - is one of the biggest upgrades for the 17-year-old Star Sapphire product line, says Flir vice-president of marketing David Strong.

Each designation corresponds to the diameter of the turret, with the largest 380mm (15in) across and the smallest 230mm-wide.

Although revealed as a development project at the Paris air show in 2009, the second generation line-up of HD cameras has made significant progress since last year.

FLIR has received a launch order from a law enforcement agency in Los Angeles to install on helicopters and fixed-wing surveillance aircraft, Strong says.

The 380HD turret itself will make its physical debut at Farnborough, having been installed on 14 July onto one of the FLIR-owned Pilatus PC-12 turboprops.

On a demonstration flight for news media across the English Channel, the latest version of the Star Sapphire zoomed in for close-ups on moving vessels more than 30km (19 miles) away.

Also onboard is a new 430mm display interface, which includes add-ons such as own-ship location information, target information and offboard data alerts.

The new HD series is scheduled to enter production in three weeks. The 380HD and 230HD will both be assembled in the USA, but the 350HD will be manufactured at FLIR's factory in Sweden.