BAE Awarded Infrared Contract

By Tish Drake | September 3, 2010
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BAE Systems has been awarded a $49.9 million contract to develop the advanced processor for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) nighttime, infrared system - the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Infrared (ARGUS-IR). ARGUS-IR provides real-time, nighttime video surveillance capability for U.S. combat forces for detecting, locating, tracking and monitoring events on battlefields and in urban areas. The system is being developed for compatibility with a variety of unmanned aerial systems.

BAE Systems’ Electronic Solutions Sector, headquartered in Nashua, N.H., will be responsible for the design, development, manufacture and test of the ARGUS-IR Airborne Processing Subsystem (APS). Additionally, BAE Systems will integrate a high-resolution infrared sensor subsystem over the course of the 32-month, eight-phase project.

“ARGUS-IR further expands military capability by providing 24-hour, day-night reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities over a much wider area than previously possible,” said Dr. John Antoniades, ARGUS program manager and director of ISR technology for BAE Systems. “Following the successful development of the daytime version of ARGUS, the new APS establishes appreciably expanded capability, and will be designed for use with a number of possible platforms.”

BAE Systems’ APS will process and store the imagery provided by the infrared sensor and downlink a minimum of 256 independent 640x480 video streams over a data link with a maximum effective bit rate of 200 Mbits per second. Each video window may be a “tracking video window” or a “fixed video window,” according to DARPA’s specifications. Additionally, the APS will have the ability to downlink automatically detected moving target metadata and image chips. BAE Systems is scheduled to conduct the system’s first flight test by the second quarter of 2012.

BAE System’s first flight tests of ARGUS-IR’s predecessor, ARGUS-IS, concluded last October aboard a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter. The tests successfully demonstrated the system’s multiple video windows for persistent area surveillance and tracking capabilities for vehicles and dismounted soldiers.

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