Rafael’s directorate has decided to announce the Sea Spotter System for ship protection and its “staring sensor“ as a company “growth generator“. The ramifications of this are that millions of dollars will be invested in the system’s development in the coming years - even if no orders are forthcoming.
The Sea Spotter is designed to allow a ship to locate surrounding threats without being detected by countermeasures. This is based on the principle of “staring“ without transmitting any radiation.
Various non-radiating systems based on Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) technologies have been tried in the past, but were considered expensive and deemed unreliable, given the high rate of false alarms.
Rafael has decided to invest heavily in the Sea Spotter on the assessment that it now has groundbreaking technology that enables high reliability detection of naval threats, while emanating no radiation at all. The system will integrate electro-optic capabilities and image-processing technologies that Rafael has already installed in other systems, such as the LITENING aerial assault guidance pod and scouting systems for pinpointing ground targets. T
he Sea Spotter system will be able to “stare“ uninterruptedly around the ship in a 3,600 field of vision or in a partial sector, according to selection, and locate threats such as sea-to-sea missiles, fighter air-craft, helicopters, ships, bombs and even miniscule targets, such as submarine periscopes or jet skis. The system will be able to detect all types of threats in all weather conditions, and automatically operate the ship’s defense mechanisms, including systems for intercepting enemy missiles or deception and jamming systems. The Sea Spotter system will operate according to Infra-Red Stabilized Stare and Track System (IRSST) technology.
The Rafael directorate’s decision to prioritize the development of the Sea Spotter is based on a sound business scheme: given the progress in the field of sensors and computerized image-processing - in which Rafael is considered a global leader – the company will be able to offer the system at a price that will attract a significant global demand.
Even before the directorate decision, in late 2010, Rafael initiated marketing efforts for the system, and also a series of sea tests in conjunction with the Israeli Navy. Rafael scientists are currently working on to neutralizing the reflections coming from the impact of sun beams on the water surface. Completion of the project is expected by 2014.