Many large and small companies have developed SUAVs (Small UAVs), and are operating them with success. However, some say that small UAVs have not been declared ‘fully operational’, because most military forces have not yet began operating them on regular basis. This is primarily due to the fact that – until now – there has been a major problem with the quality of the images that the operating soldier receives.
The SUAV was designed to be operated by a soldier, after short training of few days. The image is transferred to the warriors, commanders and others who have interest in the information. The major problem is that the video image received is unstable and shaky, especially when a zoom lens is in use. In addition, there is a problem controlling the line of sight (LOS), and – as a result – tracking the targets.
To achieve a quality video picture from a SUAV is a great challenge due to the fact that the SUAV vibrates and shakes during flight. The low-level flight used during military operations requires sharp turns and fast motion of the LOS to track a target. The weight constraints on the SUAV make the challenge even greater.
CONTROP has challenged these issues and developed the first and only small-gyro-stabilised payloads for SUAVs – the STAMP payloads. The D-STAMP is a daylight stabilised miniature payload with three gimbals weighing from only 750g, and the recently launched U-STAMP-Z night payload uses an uncooled IR camera with a continuous zoom lens. The STAMP payloads are already flying on a variety of SUAVs, with tremendous success and great satisfaction from all operators and customers, hereby proving that the concept of a quality mini payload is indeed achievable. The systems enable supplementary relevant data to the video picture for the operators and all users receiving the video (for example provision of target coordinates).