Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is a big deal at the Singapore air show. The static park has at least three manned aircraft produced with special missions -- largely ISR -- in mind: the King Air 350ER and two revived designs, Viking's Twin Otter and RUAG's 228NG. There are also three large UAVs, in the form of two IAI Herons and Elbit's new Hermes 900.
U.S. primes are talking about new moves in the ISR business: Lockheed Martin was talking up the idea of roll-on, roll-off packages for the C-130, including a P-3-based mission system, and both Boeing and Raytheon are hinting at new offerings on commercial aircraft.
The next question, however, is what you do with all the data that these systems provide, apart, that is, from drowning in it.
Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled a new tool to address that problem at the Singapore air show, in the form of RICent/VEX (video exploitation system). It's an add-on to IAI's existing exploitation systems, which are designed to perform geo-registration and change detection on still imagery.
RICent/VEX records and indexes multiple video streams, while geo-registering the imagery in near-real time. It constantly updates a map of where the sensor is looking now and where it has looked -- as an IAI engineer notes, this means that the interpreter is no longer zooming out to see where the image is.
The system also makes it easy to tag objects, and to track the movement history of a designated target (a suspicious vehicle, for example). If the target was previously in the sensor's field of view, its movements can be retraced.
Another interesting point from IAI is the increasing importance of synthetic aperture radar to overland ISR. SAR, IAI notes, is not just a bad-weather imaging system. Because it produces three-dimensional data and gathers information related to the target's radar cross-section, IAI notes, it can detect change "measured in millimeters" and can quickly identify man-made objects in its field of view, as well as detecting moving objects.