At the Eurosatory 2018 exhibition in Paris, the sensor solution house HENSOLDT is presenting its new Local Situational Awareness System (LSAS) for wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles.
The system will be available, both as an upgrade as well as a solution for newly built vehicles. The aim of this is to avoid direct viewing channels as weaknesses in armoured vehicles, without reducing the optical reconnaissance capability. In times of asymmetrical threats, for example via improvised explosive devices (IED) or drones, soldiers can thus remain within the protection offered by the vehicle, with no loss of orientation or loss of awareness of the security situation.
“We also call it a ‘see-through tank’. The system can replace the human eye,” explained project leader Marc Krause. With its sensor modules, each equipped with a high-resolution daylight camera and two uncooled thermal imaging modules (UCM), the LSAS can recognise a person at 300 metres in daylight. “Our uncooled thermal imager is already in use in a number of our products and is combat-proven. Optionally, a third UCM will be available with a smaller field of view. With this, users can recognise a person at 300 metres, even at night.”
The system has a modular design. Each sensor module covers a range of 97 degrees. Depending on the customer’s requirements, HENSOLDT can offer up to six sensor modules per vehicle system to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings in an overlapping configuration. The system’s modularity even permits additional sensors to be integrated. For example, no additional holes have to be drilled through the armour for supporting sensors such as sniper detectors or laser warners. The system’s architecture, especially its interfaces, are very open and comply with the NATO standardisation agreement STANAG 4754 (NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture (NGVA)).
It will thus be possible to communicate with every human-machine interface (HMI) component, which also complies with this standard. This means that soldiers can use not only monitors, but also tablet computers or head-mounted displays. The NGVA interface also offers the option of making data available to other systems in the vehicle’s entire network. External data from the vehicle’s network, such as a situation map with object or position markers from the battle management system (BMS), can also be displayed in the HMI via the same LSAS interface (augmented reality).
Combined with an intuitive HMI design, and together with an NGVA network, the LSAS enables the data available in the vehicle to be made available to all members of the crew individually.
“Not everyone can master the challenge of processing the enormous quantity of data which arises, of several gigabits per second, and to then allow algorithms to run to support the user,” said Marc Krause.
At the Eurosatory exhibition, HENSOLDT is exhibiting an engineering mock-up from the design phase on an EAGLE 6×6 troop transporter by General Dynamics European Land Systems. The system demonstrates the high optical performance of the daylight camera in the final product as well as an option for its intuitive control.
The first prototypes of the Local Situational Awareness System will be available on the market from the end of 2019; series production is expected in 2020.