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Kestrel Supports Project NANKEEN In Afghanistan

Kestrel's ability to detect very small moving targets less than a few pixel in size, allows the ADF to operate the Heron at a wider field of view, extending the area of observation.
by Staff Writers
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Nov 11, 2010
Sentient has announced that Kestrel Land MTI, its computer vision system for electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors, is actively deployed in support of the Heron Unmanned Ariel Systems (UAS), operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Afghanistan.

Under Project NANKEEN, Kestrel Land MTI assists Australian Defence Force (ADF) commanders by analysing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) imagery from the Heron. The software processes the imagery in real time, automatically detecting and tracking small, moving targets such as dismounts and vehicles within the sensors' field of view.

WGCDR David Riddel, RAAF Deputy Director - Air Combat Capability and Project Lead for NANKEEN, sees in Kestrel Land MTI a significant ISR capability enhancement, extending the Heron's ability to provide situational awareness for Australian and Coalition forces on the ground.

"Kestrel detects any small movements in the field of view and alerts our operators to targets that are easily missed - camouflaged vehicles in tough terrains, dismounts or squirters leaving houses", Riddel said. "This gives our commanders a complete understanding of the situation on the ground."

Riddel stresses the benefits of Kestrel Land MTI for long ISR missions, increasing productivity through consistent, reliable detections.

"Especially over long periods of observations, Kestrel has been proven to be very valuable. It helps fatigued observers by drawing their attention to targets outside their actual field of vision."

Kestrel's ability to detect very small moving targets less than a few pixel in size, allows the ADF to operate the Heron at a wider field of view, extending the area of observation.

"Kestrel acts as a force multiplier, allowing us to increase our area of coverage", Riddel pointed out. "As a result, commanders will be aware of potential threats to ADF operations earlier and will be able to respond more quickly and with more effect."

Simon Olsen, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sentient, is proud of Kestrel's achievements in Afghanistan.

"The rapid acquisition of the Heron UAS for Project NANKEEN was built on low risk. The cornerstone of the deployment was the Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) facility. Kestrel's low risk, plug and play integration into the PED provided a perfect fit for the requirement. It has proved to be a key intelligence asset for Australian deployed forces", Olsen said.

The RAAF operates the Heron and Kestrel Land MTI out of Kandahar, conducting ISR missions which include IED search, overwatch, and battle damage assessment.

Kestrel Land MTI was developed by Sentient as a part of the Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program, managed by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

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