“RedKite”, the new infrared camera developed by Airbus Defence and Space’s Optronics business unit, ensures optimum visibility in spite of mist, fog or heat haze. RedKite is based on the latest short-wave infrared technology (SWIR), which processes frequencies from the visible to the infrared range, thus ensuring a higher contrast image than possible with a daylight camera or a thermal image device alone.
Thanks to the very high-contrast image, the user is also able to observe perfectly over long ranges of up to 8 kilometres. The characteristic feature of the camera is its compact design, which means it can therefore be used very well to upgrade existing systems.
RedKite enables the user to recognise details, such a ship’s number, which would not be visible in a thermal image. The user is also able to look through windows, which is impossible with a thermal image device on account of the absorption in the glass. The SWIR camera produces a higher contrast image of a scene and can penetrate to the target object better than a daylight camera if visibility is bad due to fog or mist. The SWIR camera can also detect thermal radiation in the Planck spectrum more effectively.
Thanks to improved thermal differentiation, hot spots such as the jet engine exhaust trail can also be better detected (hot spot detection). RedKite rounds off the Kite camera family developed by Airbus DS Optronics. The range also includes the BlackKite HD (High Definition), a camera for extremely long distances, and the YellowKite SD (Standard Definition), a camera for military applications, with which colour images can be made at ranges, which were previously only possible in black-and-white imagery.
The Optronics business unit of Airbus Defence and Space designs, develops and manufactures optronic, optic and precision-engineered products for military, civil and security applications at its German sites in Oberkochen and Wetzlar, as well as in Irene (South Africa), Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Sidi Bel Abbès (Algeria), and has around 800 employees.
These are used globally by armed forces and security personnel for monitoring, identification and classification purposes, as well as for highly precise measurement, evaluation and targeting. The optronic products are deployed on various platforms for land, air, sea and space missions. These include submarines and armoured vehicles as well as aircraft, satellites and UAVs.