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QinetiQ, sponsored by the Research Acquisition Organisation, showed the Close Situational Awareness System (CSAS), a technology demonstrator for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) at DVD. Displaying, like Thales, new developments in urgent requirements for close situational awareness for armoured vehicles in urban situation following ‘lessons learnt’ in Iraq.

CSAS provides uninterrupted panoramic and hemispherical (from above) visibility, with no blind spots, to meet evolving threats in cluttered urban or open country scenarios.

Incorporating state-of-the-art cameras, digital image processing and displays, the CSAS can manually or automatically detect a range of potential threats and pick them out from urban clutter. By detecting these threats, the crew of an AFV can take appropriate countermeasures, greatly improving their survivability – whether the vehicle is static or moving. Elements of this research are already being included as part of the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) Electronic Architecture (EA) demonstrator programme.

“Having sufficient hi-res image resolution to allow the crew to recognise threat profiles is crucial,” explained Mike Lemon, QinetiQ’s situational awareness project manager. “And a totally digital ’end to end’ system architecture for future upgrades is also critical to delivering this capability. Our team has consolidated both these advanced imaging and processing skills with our extensive experience in situational awareness, surveillance and target acquisition. We are now able to deliver an effective system with excellent all-round visibility and automatic threat detection techniques that assist the AFVs crew and minimises any additional workload.”

The results of this programme will provide technology pull through into future AFV programmes for British and Allied armies, including FRES.

The CSAS demonstrator was designed with flexible EA and open-standard software architecture. This means it can be customised to meet users’ needs and to suit a variety of AFV types and roles. The electronic architecture is based on the Vehicle Systems Integration (VSI) standards and guidelines developed and endorsed by MOD and industry which will help ensure easy future upgrades and enhancements.

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