Bremen-based space and high-tech company OHB-System AG has received three new contracts for the radio transmission of high-resolution aerial reconnaissance images.
The first contract entails a high-rate data link system for the revolutionary new system AGILES UAV. OHB will be supplying a broad-band data link known as ARDS (Aerial Reconnaissance Data System). This link has been initiated as part of the German Federal Government’s Research and Technology Program and developed and readied for the market by OHB over the past few years using its own funds. Under the terms of the new contract, ARDS will be modified and qualified for AGILES UAV and assembled for system demonstration by the customer EADS Military Air Systems. “The use of ARDS for this system marks a major step in the deployment of unmanned observation and reconnaissance vehicles in Germany and Europe,” stresses Wilfried Wetjen, head of Aerial Reconnaissance Systems at OHB. In addition, ARDS is currently the only way of achieving the necessary image and information quality for reconnaissance and observation tasks without any delay.
The other two contracts aim to demonstrate the capabilities of “real-time broad-based reconnaissance” over a distance of some 400 km for the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement BWB. To this end, OHB’s own reconnaissance vehicle will be converted into an airborne relay radio station to increase the ranges from a current 250 km to the 400 km being sought. The use of an airborne radio relay ensures reliable communications between at least two stations, between which a direct link is normally not possible on account of the earth’s curvature or obstacles such as mountains.
Under the second contract awarded by BWB, OHB will be assembling aircraft equipment for testing and demonstrating real-time reconnaissance capabilities. Here as well, the ARDS high-rate data transmission system will be integrated. It will be supplemented with sensors of the type required for reconnaissance work as well as a modern data compression system, which is a proprietary OHB-System development.
In order to demonstrate real-time reconnaissance quickly, the overall system will include commercially available components which can be combined with existing subsystems. “This system will be closing a technological gap,” explains Wilfried Wetjen, “as in the future it will be possible not only to engage in military reconnaissance but also to ensure broad-based monitoring of shipping to reduce the risks caused by accidents at sea or pollution.” For OHB-System, these contracts constitute a further key milestone in its aerial monitoring and reconnaissance technology program.
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