CAP gets better sensors

The Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force's civilian auxiliary headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., has awarded two contracts worth nearly $5 million for hyperspectral imaging sensors and a visual computing network to enhance its reconnaissance missions.

Under the CAP Searchers' Edge Program, Boeing Co.'s Autometrics division and NovaSol, a small research and engineering development company based in Honolulu, were selected to provide 15 hyperspectral imaging systems to be used on CAP aircraft, as well as software to support a visual computing network. NovaSol received $4.2 million; Boeing's contract is for $684,000.

Col. Drew Alexa, head of the Civil Air Patrol's Advanced Technologies Group, said hyperspectral imaging sensors on a moving aircraft detect objects on the ground by picking up light reflected from those objects.

Alexa said the visual computing network gives users a 3-D view of satellite images.

'Traditionally we have flown low and slow to physically eyeball the objects of our reconnaissance,' Alexa said. 'Hyperspectral imaging will just multiply our effectiveness by providing us with a better set of eyeballs.'

CAP executive director Al Allenback added that the technology will be used in search and rescue, disaster relief, counterdrug and homeland security missions.

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