DRS Technologies, Inc. a Finmeccanica Company announced its Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Group has developed a new type of wide-angle thermal camera that helps keep military vehicles from accidently dropping off treacherous mountain roads in the war zone.
Typically, troops who drive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and other combat vehicles must navigate them close to steep cliffs and other hazards. These vehicles are currently equipped with a Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE) that offers a thermal video image with a narrow field of view that is 40º wide x 30º vertically.
Capitalizing off of the technology and lessons learned from the DVE, RSTA has developed a system that “stitches” together images to create a 107º x 30º field of view.
The new system, DVE Wide, lets the driver electronically pan through the full 107º to see both sides of the road ahead. It also adds wheel track indicators to the video image so the driver can clearly identify any potential obstacles and see where road surfaces drop off. The thermal cameras create an image by detecting infrared waves (heat), rather than light waves; so they produce sharp, high-resolution images in the dark of night and through dust, haze, sand, smoke and light fog.
“DVE Wide provides Warfighters with the perspective they need to remain safe and conduct operations in a highly efficient way,” says RSTA President Terry Murphy. “No longer must a spotter dismount from the vehicle and become exposed to enemy fire to guide the vehicle down a dangerous road, and no longer will these vehicles be likely to roll off the unseen edges of roads, bridges or cliffs. With DVE Wide, the driver maintains a full view of the conditions ahead and beside the vehicle. We believe that DVE Wide will save many lives and will help America bring more of its troops home safely in the future.”
DVE Wide is simply a one-for-one sensor replacement to the existing DVE system. This backwards compatibility makes DVE Wide easy to deploy and install. It operates with the existing display control monitor and cables, so the military does not need to re-outfit its vehicles with costly upgrades and installation kit modifications.
With more than 55,000 DVEs from RSTA in the field, the safety upgrade to DVE Wide is a low cost effort guaranteed to increase the Warfighter’s force protection and operational capability.
Source: DRS Technologies Inc., A Finmeccanica Company (Milan: FNC.MI)
Date: Feb 22, 2012