SurveillanceInnovative surveillance solutions recognized

Published 21 October 2011

MicroObserver Unattended Ground Sensor from Textron Defense Systems was recognized as one of the 2011 Big 25 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) products; the solution detects and tracks vehicles and personnel for perimeter defense, border security, force protection, persistent surveillance, and critical infrastructure protection

Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Textron Defense Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. TXT company, announced the other day that its MicroObserver Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) system, which detects and tracks vehicles and personnel for perimeter defense, border security, force protection, persistent surveillance, and critical infrastructure protection, has been named to C4ISR Journal’s group of 2011 Big 25 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) products and innovations.

C4ISR Journalwill recognize its 2011 Big 25 during the 11th annual C4ISR Journal Conference & Big 25 Awards, to be held 27-28 October in Washington, D.C.

At that time, one top technology will be named in each of five award areas, including the “Sensor” category in which MicroObserver is a finalist.

The MicroObserver system is deployed with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan for remote surveillance and force protection. It is also deployed in the Middle East as part of the DRS Distant Sentry border security program. The company says that the MicroObserver system addresses the needs  of both tactical and homeland security missions — harsh terrain, varying climates, rapidly evolving mission requirements, and personnel with little time for training but great need for reliable situational awareness. The company notes that to ensure long life, the system is designed to conserve power without disrupting surveillance. Also, two variants are available to accommodate both long- and short-term mission requirements.

There are other useful features to the system: using conformal communication and GPS antennas, nodes can be emplaced flush with or below ground for covertness; the system also requires no external cables that would reveal its placement. Unlike traditional mesh networks, MicroObserver uses a hybrid hub-and-spoke architecture with the company’s proprietary radio to deliver communications up to ten kilometers without draining system power.

Beyond its smart design, MicroObserver UGS also are designed for rapid deployment,” says Senior Vice President & General Manager Ellen Lord of Textron Defense Systems. “No more than one day of user training is required. Sensor nodes can be turned on in one step and automatically geo-locate. The MicroObserver network is self-forming so no network planning is required, self-healing so it automatically adapts to changes in the radio frequency environment, and self-configuring so no programming is required. So it provides vast capability with very little user intervention.”

Textron notes that fellow Textron Systems operating unit Overwatch also claimed its own Big 25 winner in the “Innovations” category. Overwatch’s SoldierEyes mobile applications and services provide ISR to users on the tactical edge, and the solution was demonstrated recently at the U.S. Army’s Empire Challenge 2011, held at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.