USA — Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. announced that it was selected by the Remote Sensing Applications Center of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service to support two wildfire monitoring and forest mapping projects in 2007 with the VistaNav(TM)- SSR Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The Remote Sensing Applications Center, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, provides technical assistance to agency field units using advanced geospatial technology for improved monitoring and mapping of natural resources.
The VistaNav-SSR (Smart Surveillance and Reconnaissance) system is a complete, high-performance UAS that includes a ground control station integrated with 3D Synthetic Vision and a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The system features miniaturized airborne and mission computing image processing capabilities designed to improve control and command functions, increase situational awareness, and integrate ground-imaging computations for aerial remote sensing applications such as oil and gas pipeline monitoring, border surveillance, forest fire detection and monitoring, precision agriculture, and more.
“Wildfire operations can be very costly in terms of equipment and personnel, especially higher-risk night operations,” said Sally Collins, Associate Forest Service Chief, Forest Service. “Together with Mercury, the Forest Service will employ VistaNav-SSR unmanned aircraft systems to help in providing precise imagery and actionable intelligence to Incident Command Teams leading to significantly safer tactics in fighting wildfires.”
“We are very pleased to be selected by the Forest Service for these projects, and to demonstrate an affordable solution that provides valuable imagery to help the Incident Command Team leaders decide on the most effective assignments for direct fire-suppressant resources,” said Philippe Roy, General Manager of the Avionics and Unmanned Systems Group at Mercury Computer Systems. “Flying above fire at night can be dangerous for manned aircraft, and low-level manned aircraft flights are not currently utilized for safety reasons. Unmanned aircraft systems can fly long missions, survey wildfire sites at low altitude, and transmit critical data to enable more informed decisions more quickly.”