The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is developing an omni-directional optical maritime surveillance system for the South African Navy (SAN).

The system constitutes five digital cameras with an 82° field of view and the captured images from the cameras will be combined to form a single image with a 360° coverage.

The development system uses only daylight cameras but the operational system will have the integration of night vision and/or thermal imaging cameras.

The focus of the current project is on detecting and tracking slow-moving contacts such as vessels and helicopters.

The SAN has opted for the optical system because it cannot be detected by other forces, whilst being inexpensive and complementary to radar.

The production system is expected be fitted to the navy’s four Valour Class frigates and to future offshore patrol vessels, according to the Engineering News.