By John Keller
CHELMSFORD, Mass. - Mercury Computer Systems Inc. in Chelmsford, Mass., won a contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to provide computer hardware and services for the Continuous Look Attack Management for Predator (CLAMP) Program.
The goal of CLAMP is to develop advanced sensor exploitation capabilities to the long-endurance Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
CLAMP is the first U.S. Air Force program to undertake Mercury’s ARIES (Airborne Reconnaissance Image Exploitation System) concept, in which airborne multisensor platforms use stored sensor data for comparative purposes.
ARIES is a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) adjunct processor to help move ground-based algorithms to the platform, adjacent to the sensor and with direct access to original sensor data, so that image exploitation can occur in real time.
As the Predator UAV flies and collects data over a designated area for hours at a time, the multilook, multisensor nature of its mission can be fully exploited.
“The ability to store, retrieve, and process sensor data over a long period of time will enable warfighters to detect changes in tactical conditions,” says Brian Hoerl, vice president of worldwide sales for the defense business at Mercury. “This will allow them to pinpoint attacks or avoid dangerous situations, which will greatly enhance the potential for saving time and lives.”
In addition, CLAMP will combine other selected technologies in a systematic approach to enable the Predator UAV to fulfill its Hunter-Killer role with improved reliability and reduced collateral damage.
ARIES represents the convergence of three rapidly evolving technologies: low-power, lightweight, high-performance computers; high-capacity, compact storage devices; and sensor-exploitation algorithms. This convergence will enable the automation of battlefield information processing, which in turn will reduce analysts’ workload and accelerate sensor-to-shooter information flow. The deployment of ARIES will facilitate best-of-breed algorithms and is consistent with the key tenets of network-centric warfare in turning airborne platforms into information servers.
Mercury experts plan to upgrade two MP-510 multiprocessor systems previously purchased by the AFRL, and to assist in the performance optimization of key applications to be tested by the CLAMP program. For more information contact Mercury online at www.mc.com/aries.