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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

19 June 2015

FLIR Systems MERLIN's Magic

On display during Paris Air Show 2015 was FLIR Systems’ MERLIN intelligence suite that can be used to support Search and Rescue (SAR), maritime patrol, information, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR), and law enforcement missions. An adaptive system that is available new or as an retrofit for the company’s range of digital EO/IR sensors, the Star SAFIRE 380-HD and 380-HDC in particular, the MERLIN suite includes features such as MERLIN MTI (moving target indicator), aiming to reduce operator fatigue while simultaneously improving mission effectiveness by allowing operators to concentrate on assessing small targets that are easily overlooked, for instance due to them normally being fixated on the centre of the screen. The result is an expanded effective seach area. Speaking to MT, Andrew Saxton, FLIR Systems’ director of marketing for surveillance, boasted: “It has never been overloaded, literally hundreds over targets can be boxed.

All the processing is done in the turret, according to Saxton, this in an effort to minimise latency. In what appears to be a reference to L-3 Wescam’s Kinetic suite, Saxton indicated that one of the company’s competitors offers a similar suite for EO/IR turrets albeit without the onboard processing.

Another unique feature of MERLIN is the Life Saving Appliance (LSA) mode, which according to Saxton, “looks for orange vests at the pixel level.” LSA cues off the colors used in life jackets, life rafts and other appliances, and alerts the operator to their presence.

Going by the name of MERLIN ASX, FLIR Systems also offers built-in anti–scintillation image processing which filters out the effects of atmospheric turbulence in high temperature environments, hereby improving both electro-optical and thermal imaging quality while also extending range performance.
Pieter Bastiaans

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