Sierra Nevada and ITT Exelis achieve testing milestone for advanced WAPS System

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) are nearing completion and testing of Vigilant Stare, a manned aircraft-based Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance (WAPS) concept demonstrator.

Hosted on a Twin Otter aircraft, the first Vigilant Stare system will achieve initial operational capability this month.  It will offer customers a proven, advanced solution in airborne wide-area persistent surveillance on an affordable, fee-for-service basis, saving upfront costs and risks. Vigilant Stare is versatile and can also be used on other manned aircraft platforms such as the Bombardier Q200, Dornier 328, King Air 350, and Pilatus PC-12.

“The Vigilant Stare system offers unprecedented WAPS capability to a previously unserviced market, in an affordable and flexible package,” Dave Bullock, vice president for SNC’s ISR Persistent Surveillance Systems said. “The civil and commercial applications of this operations-proven technology are many and varied. We're excited about the successful completion of our concept demonstrator flight test phase and look forward to a busy demonstration and exercise schedule this fall.”

In recent system testing by SNC, the Vigilant Stare commercially based backend has proven the concept that imagery chip-outs can be provided directly and in real time via a WIMAX/4G LTE dissemination channel to field elements using common off-the-shelf hand-held devices.

“With the completion of initial flight tests, we remain on track to make Vigilant Stare available for operations by the end of the year,” said Danny Rajan, director of airborne and emerging solutions at ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems. “We are currently in discussion with customers regarding specific operational scenarios, ranging from persistent wide-area airborne surveillance for major public events to supporting border security operations.”

Derived from operationally proven systems created from SNC and Exelis technology and engineering, Vigilant Stare’s integrated EO/IR sensor collects synoptic, day/night motion imagery of city-sized fields of regard with multiple sub-views of the full field of view. In addition, best-resolution tactical chip-outs are provided in real time to both centralized command centers as well as to dispersed users employing commercial devices, including tablets and phones. This diversified dissemination capability optimizes situational awareness across multiple echelons simultaneously.

Potential mission support areas for Vigilant Stare include:


  • Military contingency operations.
  • Border security surveillance and networks characterization.
  • National security at special or sporting events.
  • Surveillance of suspected areas of illegal activity.
  • Port security surveillance.
  • Natural disaster response.
  • Search and rescue efforts.

The Vigilant Stare partnership between SNC and Exelis brings mature operational capability to market, delivering ready-now WAPS capabilities with multiple service options that help customers meet their mission needs on a more affordable and flexible basis.

Source: ITT Exelis
Date: Aug 6, 2012