Case Studies - Ultra Avalon Electronics System Case Study
AN AIRBORNE SIGNATURE MEASUREMENT SYSTEM USED FOR RADAR AND ELECTRO-OPTICAL SIGNATURE MEASUREMENT
Ultra Electronics Avalon Systems is a specialist business within the Ultra Electronics group and is a leading provider of niche technologies and capabilities to the Australian Defence community across a number of domains, including Electronic Warfare, ISR, Tactical Communications, Maritime and Underwater Warfare.
Established in 1995, Avalon Systems quickly became a successful member of the Australia’s Defence industry through the delivery of sophisticated, indigenous EW systems and specialist signal processing software. In 2009 Ultra Electronics acquired Avalon Systems as a base for building its Australian capability aligned with the awarding of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Sonar contract.
Avalon Systems joined the Ultra group of companies in 2009 and now also provides indigenous support to Ultra Electronics Sonar Systems on the Air Warfare Destroyer Sonar contract. Ultra Electronics is a group of specialist businesses designing, manufacturing and supporting electromechanical systems, sub-systems, products and components for defence, security, aerospace and transport applications worldwide.
Vision4ce received an enquiry at the beginning of 2016 from Ultra Electronics Avalon Systems that led to a contract in March 2017 to provide a target tracking solution for unique application; the measurement of electro-optic and radar cross sectional signatures from an airborne platform. The hardware was then delivered to the customer May 2018 and initial flight trials took place September 2018. The whole project came to fruition over a period of nineteen months.
The bespoke application (Figure 2) required two identical systems, one for electro-optic measures and one for radar measurements, which could be installed and deployed from a leased commercial helicopter. The ultimate hardware solution comprised the Vision4ce GRIP System with custom VMS tracking software, a dual axis servo platform, visual and infra-red tracking sensors, and a laser rangefinder.
Figure 1: Tracking Mount
The Zeta dual axis, heavy duty, stabilised servo positioning pedestal, provided the ideal platform to mount the tracking sensors whilst delivering highly accurate and stable target for either the customer’s electro-optic cameras or radar system (Figure 1).
Figure 2: System Block Diagram
Figure 3: GRIP Rack Mount PC
Control of Zeta platform and tracking sensors, was provided through custom VMS Software hosted on the GRIP PC with an embedded Windows operating system (Figure 3). The Tracking Control System software is based on Vision4ce ‘Video Management System’ (VMS) application (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Screenshot of VMS GUI
“When we became aware of our customers requirement for the Airborne Signature Measurement System, we embarked on a detailed search for companies providing specialist optical tracking systems and came across Vision4ce. From the internet information, they appeared to have all the components required to build a highly capable system along with the necessary experience and expertise from their naval work, to be able to deliver a custom solution for a demanding environment.
From first contact, we were impressed by Vision4ce’s responsiveness to our technical queries and their guidance in framing a solution to match our customer’s requirement, and ultimately, this resulted in us winning the contract.
We are pleased to say that the professional and collaborative relationship established during the initial solicitation process continued throughout the course of the contract we placed with Vision4ce for the complete tracking solution.
There were a number of tough technical problems to overcome. In particular, the system’s ability to maintain stable and accurate tracking performance in the helicopter vibration environment was fundamental. Vision4ce’s expertise and attention to detail led us through a series of risk reduction test and modelling activities and we are pleased to say that this has resulted in a stabilisation system that achieves our customer’s needs.
We are extremely pleased with the final product, its quality, capability and performance, and equally the ongoing technical support provided by Vision4ce.
Gerry Whitford, Ultra Avalon Electronics