The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a $6.7m contract to Logos Technologies to develop, deliver and conduct proof-of concept flight tests on a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor.

The scope of the initial contract includes the development of two prototypes of the sensor system, called Cardcounter.

Delivery of the prototype is scheduled by the end of September, when flight testing on the RQ-21A Blackjack will commence.

Once developed, the system will be integrated onto the US Navy and Marine Corps RQ-21A small tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

Cardcounter is derived from Logos Technologies’ BlackKite sensor, which is an ultra-lightweight WAMI prototype carrying infrared capability.

Weighing lesser than 28lb, BlackKite has the capability to image an area of more than 12km².

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As the coverage area is so large, sensor operators can track all vehicles in real-time.

Logos Technologies Business Development VP Doug Rombough said: “We see this contract as a major step for us, the navy/marines, and the warfighter in general.

“In embracing miniaturised wide-area motion imagery systems for tactical UAS, the Department of Defense is taking a technology that has already proven itself on the battlefield with aerostats and providing the tactical commander with guardian angel-like overwatch.

“There’s nothing like BlackKite out there in the market today. It is a force multiplier in terms of enhanced situational awareness. The system catches and records the entire area in real-time and streams multiple video ‘chip-outs’ down to handheld devices on the ground.”

Cardcounter will tap BlackKite’s multi-modal edge processor to store six or more hours of mission data.

This technology will enable users to forensically review the recorded imagery so that they can better contextualise what is being displayed in the real-time imagery, drawing connections between people, places and events.