D-VEX is a portable system that captures and manages full-motion video from airborne surveillance aircraft designed primarily for theaters of war. The system can be modified for civilian use and can be made compatible with commercially available compact mobile hardware, such as laptops, the company said.
Australia's systems have been installed in the RQ-7 Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aerial system manufactured by AAI Corp. and are being use by the army in Afghanistan, General Dynamics said.
The aircraft's video system detects targets as far as 77 miles from a tactical operations center. It also recognizes vehicles from 8,000 feet above ground at more than 2 miles away, day or night, AAI said.
A complete Shadow 200 system, including spares and operating personnel, can be deployed using three C-130 Hercules aircraft, while short-duration operations require only a single C-130.
The Shadow, powered by a 38 HP AR741-1101 Wankel engine manufactured by UAV Engines, also is used by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and the Swedish army for reconnaissance, target identification and battle-damage assessment.
GD Mediaware, which has headquarters in Canberra, said the D-VEX supports open defense standards, including the Motion Imagery Standards Profile and STANAG 4609.
"Managing the thousands of hours of video collected by the Shadow 200 presented the army with a sizeable data processing and analytics challenge," said Kevin Moore, chief technology officer of General Dynamics Mediaware.
"With the D-VEX, the video archive is easily searchable, enabling analysts to identify, tag and analyze critical events in real-time for consistent, reliable and standards-compliant results."
Mediaware, part of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is a global provider of digital video technology.
In mid 2010 Australia bought 18 RQ-7B Shadow 200 tactical UAV airframes along with ground support and training equipment specifically for its troops in Afghanistan, a report by Australian Aviation said at the time.
The $175 million deal followed a notification to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency earlier that year that the sale was going through.
Australia bought the off-the-shelf Shadow drones after it canceled in 2009 its Project JP 129 deal with Boeing Australia in Brisbane and Israeli UAV manufacturer Israel Aircraft Industries Malat in Tel Aviv for IAI's new drone system I-View.
Australia was to be the launch customer for the I-View 250 model but the launch vehicle crashed, leading to delays, a report by Defense Industry Daily said.
As an interim measure after cancelling the I-Vew deal, the Australian army in Afghanistan was operating Boeing ScanEagle drones leased from Insitu Pacific and which are being replaced with the Shadows.
The Shadow is larger and can carry bigger and more capable sensors and communications equipment. But it only has seven hours flying time compared to 20 or more for the smaller ScanEagle.
The Shadow also needs a cleared runway area to conduct arrested landings.