$13M in Star SAFIRE Sensor Turrets for Colombian Helis
FLIR Systems, Inc. recently announced a $13 million order from the Colombian Ministry of Defense for its Star SAFIRE HD stabilized, multi-sensor surveillance turrets, to be used on board Colombian Air Force helicopters. That country already uses FLIR Systems products on its Super Tucano counter-insurgency aircraft, but FLIR Systems’ release indicates that this contract was competitively awarded against competitors. Work will be performed at FLIR’s facility in Portland, Oregon, and deliveries are expected to take place during the second half of 2008. Customer support, training, and integration services will be performed from FLIR’s licensed maintenance facility located in Bogota, Colombia.
The fully-digital Star SAFIRE HD packs 120x zoom daylight, low-light, and forward looking infrared (FLIR, 640 x 512 array) cameras, laser targeting and designation options, and IMU relative positioning to transmit coordinates, in a compact 15″ turret system that weighs about 120 pounds. Star SAFIREs are also 6-axis stabilized, which means they will remain locked on their viewing point no matter what the helicopter does. Helicopters equipped with these kinds of systems can operate in day, night, or twilight reconnaissance mode against guerrillas, drug runners, and narco-terrorists, providing overwatch along their flight paths and scanning landing zones et. al. to reduce the odds of fatal surprises. If targets are confirmed, or key features need to be pointed out, laser designation can be used to illuminate targets or objects of interest for nearby helicopters and supporting aircraft.
Colombia recently purchased 15 second-hand UH-60L Black Hawk/ Arpia helicopters from the USA, which would bring the core of its Fuerza Aerea Colombiana and Brigada XXV de Aviacion del Ejército (BRIAV) fleets to an estimated 29-45 UH-60 Arpias, about 45-50 UH-1 Huey/ Huey-IIs, and about 16 Russian Mi-17s.