The company plans to offer turnkey persistent surveillance of city-sized areas to its domestic and international government and commercial customers.
Integration flight testing of the Redkite sensor pod on one of MAG’s Cessna aircraft is underway, says Doug Rombough, Logos vice president for business development. Weighing less than 30 lb. and requiring less than 200 watts of power, the sensor can cover a 4-km (2.5-mi.)-dia. area from 12,000 ft.
Logos was a pioneer of WAMI, Rombough says, building the 1,500-lb. Constant Hawk system developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and deployed by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Logos subsequently developed the lighter Kestrel system carried by aerostats to protect U.S. bases.
Redkite is designed to be carried by small aircraft, helicopters and tactical unmanned aircraft. The system provides medium-resolution electro-optical imagery of a city-sized area in near real time and stores it for forensic analysis. The system can cue a high-resolution full-motion video (FMV) sensor.
The sensor also can downlink up “sub-windows” within its overall field of regard to up to 10 ground users who can monitor specific areas on tablet computers or Android smartphones. The operator can set up watch boxes, establishing a system tripwire that will provide an alert if anything enters an area.
“We believe it is the smallest, most power-efficient WAMI sensor available,” Rombough says. “And we think WAMI will proliferate down the road the way FMV has. Our next steps are to continue to reduce weight and to develop a night version.” Redkite is day-only for now. Logos has flown a prototype infrared version, but it is not yet packaged and ready for sale, he says.
MAG’s core business is aerial surveillance, CEO Joe Fluet says, and the company specializes in turnkey operations, providing the aircraft, sensors and operators and delivering information to the customer. “The majority of our work is with the U.S. Defense Department, domestically and internationally, but also with intergovernmental organizations and foreign governments,” he says.
The company offers services with every major type of surveillance sensors on fixed- and rotary-wing manned and unmanned aircraft. “We sell situational awareness as a service,” Fluet says. “Our platforms are general multi-intelligence and we plug and play sensors as we need them. We like Redkite because it’s so small, light and low power you can put it on anything and take it anywhere in the world.”
Fluet says some of MAG’s customers have been asking for a wide-area surveillance capability. “WAMI is what they are all talking about now. The business of aerial surveillance and situational awareness is going to real time,” Fluet says. “They want to know who is there now, when they came and when they went. The appetite for information in insatiable.”