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06/04/2005

Telecast POV system controls flight tracking pedestal to monitor test aircraft at Edwards

Telecast Fiber Systems has announced that its point-of-view (POV) fibre optic transceiver modules are being used in a state-of-the-art 360 degree aircraft tracking system at Edwards Air Force Base, located 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
The POV systems, which enable remote control of the tracking pedestal's three cameras, are specially equipped with optical and electrical multiplexing that permits high-density bi-directional transmission to and from the Operations Center over a single optical fibre strand.
"There's definitely no room on our 'Flight Vision' pedestal for an operator and monitor bank, so we needed to be able to control the cameras remotely," said Ben Cacal, the electronic technician at Edwards Air Force Base, who integrated the system. "We chose Telecast based on recommendations we received from several of our peers, and so far the system is performing very well. We're planning to build a second system this year based on the same equipment."
Flight Vision, which can track any object flying in its vicinity, is located on the top of a building that also houses the control room. It is used to track test and training flights of some of the military's most advanced aircraft, some of which can be moving at speeds of over 0.7 mach, which is over 500 miles per hour at sea level.
Flight Vision consists of three 3-chip Hitachi and Sony analogue cameras that are equipped with interchangeable lenses from Davro and Flir and mounted onto a robotic pedestal. With the Telecast POV system, a single operator using a joystick can rotate the pedestal 360 degrees and tilt it so the cameras point straight up to track and record flight information of aircraft under test.
Telecast's POV modules convert the camera's video and RS232/422 control signals to optical wavelengths. Eight-channel CWDM (coarse wavelength division multiplexer) technology is used to reduce the multiple fibres to a single strand that passes through a fibre optic rotary joint (FORJ) on the robotic pedestal. From there, it is transmitted through a 100-foot length of single-mode fibre to the control room below, where the signal is converted back to analogue and displayed in real time on a bank of three monitors. There, the operator can use the fibre link to control every function of the cameras, the lenses, and the robotic pedestal.
Telecast's POV system will be on display at NAB 2005 booth SU8375 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 18-21.
(GB/SP)
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