29 Aug. 19. American Panel Corporation (APC) completed a month-long trial of its advanced vehicle display at the British Army’s Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington, Dorset, UK. Supporting in this evaluation were Kent Modular Electronics (KME), TECNOBIT (TNB), and Foxbury Solutions.
A next generation of thermal imaging sensor to display capability was successfully trialed at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) during 10-28 Jun 19. This new capability included a latest generation Thermal Imaging (TI) Centinela HD sensor from TNB that provided 10-bit video with a specific gamma rate correction setting to a native 10-bit (30-bit RGB) APC and KME display.
This capability not only transforms the user experience by furnishing the commander with video that is easier to interpret; but crucially also enabling the commander to Detect, Recognise and Identify (DRI) targets and objects at far greater ranges than with legacy, 6 or 8-bit sensor and display capability on in-service Remote Weapon Station (RWS).
By using these enhanced capabilities, the commander will be able to effect at greater ranges as well – particularly in the new era of vehicles and weapon load modularity. This capability will enable simpler and faster changes of weapons systems (both direct and indirect) on a single multi-weapon mount, giving commanders true variety and choice to their tactical capability.
The objectives of the trial were to:
- Determine the Detection, Recognition, Identification (DRI) capabilities of a 10-bit video input display.
- Undertake comparative testing against a current in-service Remote Weapons System (RWS) 6>8-bit based thermal imaging sensor and matched video viewing/control screen.
- Understand the benefits of the TNB Centinela HD sensor (10-bit) when used in conjunction with the APC / KME display (10-bit).
- Showcase the combined capability to key UK MoD and Defence Industry personnel.
Jamie Boulet of APC said, “The development of longer-range thermal sensors has required MoDs and industry alike to look at a range of similarly advanced displays to accommodate the images obtained from longer range. This is particularly important to avoid collateral damage involving civilians or potential fratricide. Our unique 10-bit technology, addresses this challenge. The ATDU trial was undertaken on the basis of an 8-bit (24-bit RGB) vs. APC’s 10-bit (30-bit RGB) display. The results exceeded even our expectations.”
APC believes the trial was successful in proving that in comparison to the legacy in-service RWS, the trialed system of matched HD sensor 10-bit video and 10-bit display appears to have exceeded existing crew DRI capability and provides a much clearer picture at all distances.
This new DRI capability is believed to surpass anything in current service with UK Land Forces. As a result, this step change means that crews should no longer have to rely on additional assets to perform or confirm DRI, at increasingly greater ranges. It is worth noting that while the appetite for collateral damage remains very low, the increased detail afforded by these enhanced capabilities, allows the operator to make better informed decisions on engagements, and in so doing reduces the risk of using imperfect identification information, especially in time-critical situations.
The Local Situational Awareness enhancement afforded by this system is expected to aid operations across the whole mounted fleet; and will undoubtedly reduce the risk of fratricide on own, friendly or civilian elements by increasing Positive Identification ranges and certainty, thereby enabling greater (and more certain) prosecution of targets in low and no light.
It should be noted that this alignment display of thermal imaging and 10-bit video systems was only a first step in determining what is possible today. It is recommended that further testing both in controlled lab conditions and in an operational context could provide valuable information and further insight into delivering more precise identification and the potential for engagement.
American Panel is displaying its range of advanced vehicle displays in Booth No. N5-263 at DSEI 2019.
For further information about APC display products or technology, please feel free to contact Mr. Jamie Boulet (email@example.com) for further information.
Notes to Editors
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display component products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 120,000 displays worldwide to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators: including M1A2, M1A2 SEP V3, M1126 Stryker, M3 Bradley, F-35, F-22, F-18A-F, F-16, F-15C/E, Euro-fighter Typhoon, JAS-39 Gripen, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, E-2, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, TUHP T-70, T-625 as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display head assembly (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects.
Recently it was announced that APC has been chosen for acquisition by Mercury Systems, Inc., (NASDAQ: MRCY), an innovative aerospace and defense company. APC, in its acquisition agreement by Mercury, intends for “business as usual” with all existing partners, customers and suppliers. The same people and products will remain available to support existing and future requirements-based display needs where product performance under extreme operating conditions is preeminent. Once the acquisition closes, APC will become a subsidiary of Mercury Systems, Inc. and all customer information provided to APC will remain protected under current non-disclosure agreements.
At DSEI 2019, APC is exhibiting an advanced design 21.5” LAD and 10.0”, 10.6” and 12.1” Display Head Assembly components.