Mercury Federal Systems provides onboard processing technology for U.S. Air Force Gorgon Stare wide-area persistent surveillance system

CHELMSFORD, Mass., 20 Oct. 2011. Mercury Federal Systems, a subsidiary of Mercury Computer Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY), provided Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) with onboard real-time image processing and storage subsystems for the U.S. Air Force’s Gorgon Stare persistent surveillance system. An SNC-led industry team developed the wide-area persistent surveillance system for the Air Force’s Gorgon Stare (GS), which has been flying operational missions since April 2011 and is currently deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

CHELMSFORD, Mass., 20 Oct. 2011. Mercury Federal Systems, a subsidiary of Mercury Computer Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY), provided Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) with onboard real-time image processing and storage subsystems for the U.S. Air Force’s Gorgon Stare persistent surveillance system. An SNC-led industry team developed the wide-area persistent surveillance system for the Air Force’s Gorgon Stare (GS), which has been flying operational missions since April 2011 and is currently deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The GS, hosted on a U.S. Air Force/General Atomics long-dwell MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicle (UAV), provides uninterrupted visible and infrared (IR) coverage of city-sized areas. It provides motion video directly to theater and tactical forces engaged in operations.

“The Air Force required a long-dwell, multi-sensor system that could support numerous, simultaneous surveillance missions, providing real-time support to ground forces and forensic information to analysts. Equally important was how quickly the system could deploy for operations,” says David Bullock, vice president, ISR Persistent Surveillance, Sierra Nevada Corporation.

SNC’s Increment 1 partners included Mercury Federal Systems, ITT Geospatial Systems, MIT/LL, L3, Gitchner, and AdamWorks. The SNC-led Increment 2 team also includes BAE Systems as the next-generation visible sensor provider.

Mercury’s on-board sensor signal processing subsystem uses an open, standards-based 6U OpenVPX architecture and includes commercial computing hardware and software, such as an OpenVPX GPU processing module, Switch module, Intel Core i7-based Server module, and Imaging Toolkit. Mercury’s ruggedized solid state disk drive–based Digital Storage Unit stores mission data for both immediate exploitation and longer term forensic analysis.

“Mercury’s flexible, size, weight, and power-optimized processing architecture provides unmatched performance through new on-board capabilities for Sierra Nevada’s system solution, enabling the most powerful data processing and exploitation to occur closer to the sensor while overcoming air-to-ground communications bottlenecks,” says Dr. Paul Monticciolo, general manager, Mercury Federal Systems. “Warfighters and analysts will be better able to extract actionable intelligence from the resulting imagery and exploitation products in near-real time through ROVER displays and dissemination through the DCGS. As a result, our forces will have persistent situational awareness of ground activities.”

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