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16 June 2015

Paris Air Show 2015: Aerodata unveils Octopod

German company Aerodata unveiled its All-in-One Airborne Surveillance Pod or Octopod on day one of Paris Air Show 2015. President of Aerodata Hans Stahl explained during the unveiling that, "the idea was to cover as much missions as possible. We had a challlenge squeezing all these sensors in such a small space but we succeeded."

The 4m, 400 kg pod can cope with speeds up to 400 knots. Installed are from front to back an AESA surveillance radar (MMTI, GMTI), a 15in EO/IR sensor, an aerial IR/UV imaging sensor by Optimare, a VIS line scanner, also by Optimare, airborne radio DF for SAR, a laser fluorosensor which is Optimare's LFS-P, a MW radiometer (Optimare MWR-P) and last but not least, a brand new SLAR.

Stahl explained that, "the SLARs on the market could not be installed", hence the decision to have Optimare develop its own system. The X band Optimare SLAR is used for mapping the sea surface with regard to oil spills, vessels, wakes and more. It has a typical swath width between 60 and 80 km. The antenna is significantly smaller. The pod has been flight tested. We now need to bring it to series production."

Typically, the Octopod would be attached to a Beechcraft 200/300/350 turboprop aircraft with a scale model of a special mission King Air being shown at Aerodata's booth at the German pavilion at Le Bourget. However, the pod which requires only a minimum of modifications to the aircraft can also be mounted under the belly of a DHC-6, DHC-8, Saab 340 or even a Challenger 605 or ERJ135/145 executive jet. Maximum operating ceiling would be 15,000 feet.

In March 2013 the Aerodata group took over Optimare Sensorsysteme, known for its MEDUSA mission system for airborne maritime surveillance. Octopod is fully compatible with MEDUSA and Aerodata's AeroMission network and software.
Pieter Bastiaans

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