Mission Optimization involves packaging as much focal length into a given space as possible. A discrete aperture for each sensor means that each sensor must penetrate the frontal area of the turret with a window, thereby reducing the available area and volume for each sensor. Conversely, combining sensors minimizes the number of apertures and increases the aperture for all sensors.
Now entering the second decade, the Shared Aperture System (SAS) technology is mature, taking full advantage of the precision stabilization delivered from the X-MAST stabilization. Initially developed as the SAS-11, the sensor delivered contrast-optimized 3500 mm optical focal length in visible and 1345 mm focal length in MWIR. L3 Sonoma EO delivers world-class image quality and mission standoff based on this technology, solving some of the most complex threats to the warfighter.
More recent entrants built upon the SAS – baseline are the SAS-5, a 3-channel system packaged into the Sonoma 1205MD with 1200 mm visible focal length in a 12-inch diameter turret alongside a laser-designator rangefinder. The SAS-5, featuring visible, Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) and Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) bands, showcases mid-tier turret performance in a compact package.
L3 Sonoma is now extending the SAS architecture to a 14-inch aperture with the SAS-14, an ultrahigh performance 4-channel shared aperture telescope with visible, Near-Infrared (NIR), SWIR and MWIR bands. Look for the SAS-14 in the Sonoma 2514 turret, with product details forthcoming.
Shared aperture technology is essential to mission optimization and increasing standoff in reduced drag, multi-INT system designs. L3 Sonoma EO is delivering this capability now.