AW-139 ViDAR SCAR Pod Middle East Centre of Excellence Created

Published on: November 2021

UAE showcased as world launchpad for ViDAR SCAR (Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance) Pod debuting AW-139 day/night pod and UAE selected as airborne AI sensor centre of excellence for integration with manned helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Search and surveillance specialist Sentient Vision Systems – the innovative Australian company acknowledged as inventor of the world’s first optical radar – has joined forces with Austrian-based Airborne Technologies GmbH and UAE and UK Aircraft Integration Specialist company Phoenix Aerospace  to create a Middle East centre of excellence for sensor integration focussed on introducing the AW-139 ViDAR SCAR (Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance) Pod to the UAE market.

Launched at Dubai Airshow 2021 (14-18 November), the tripartite initiative introduces the latest evolution of the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) pod family, designed for a range of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) applications for civilian and military use, and recently demonstrated and operated with Diamond Aircraft in Belgium.

According to IMARC industry research, the global airborne ISR market reached a value of US$ 25.7 Billion in 2020. Looking forward, the market is expected to reach a value of US$ 34.20 Billion by 2026, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.90% during 2021-2026.

“Sentient and Airborne Technologies have a long productive relationship providing airborne surveillance solutions and together with Phoenix Aerospace we have a winning combination playing to our respective strengths,” says Sentient Vision Systems’ founder and Managing Director, Dr Paul Boxer. “We are very pleased to be working with both companies on this compelling ViDAR development. This collaboration will provide a fully certified, integrated ViDAR Optical Radar capability for maritime search and surveillance operations for our key customers.”

Wolfgang Grumeth, CEO of Airborne Technologies, says: “A fixed installation of the ViDAR system is already flying on the Viking Twin Otter ISR demonstrator. This technology is a “must-have” for state-of-the-art SAR operations, and we are excited at the launch of this latest addition to the SCAR Pod portfolio. Therefore, we are keen to offer the ViDAR system also as a flexible solution as part of our SCAR-Pod family, providing additional surveillance capabilities for existing rotary and fixed wing fleets, without extensive modification effort.”

“This agreement between Phoenix Aerospace partnering with two acknowledged world leaders in the optical sensors and aircraft integration markets, is testimony to the strength and depth of our expertise working with global aerospace brands”, explains, Tony Okill, Managing Director, Phoenix Aerospace. “It not only places the UAE front and centre of this dynamic industry, but importantly ensures that the ViDAR optical sensor system become the chosen solution for a range of applications and platforms operating within the UAE.”

With over 3,000 systems deployed, Sentient’s solutions enhance the performance of EO/IR operations for many agencies and forces worldwide with applications including:

  • Search and Rescue operations at sea
  • Military intelligence and surveillance operations
  • Police detection and prevention of illegal activities including smuggling of contraband, narcotics interdiction, anti-piracy and illegal fishing
  • Border protection and detection of migrant activity

Sentient and Airborne Technologies’ AW-139 Day/Night ViDAR SCAR Pod, provides round the clock search capabilities, with real time autonomous detection of SAR targets.

The ViDAR Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computer Vision software scans the 180-degree electro optic and/or infra-red sensor’s imagery feed to detect targets invisible to a human operator. It then places a thumbnail image on the operator’s screen showing the bearing and range of the target, allowing for an automated cross-cue by the inspection turret. When searching small objects such as a life raft or a person in the water, ViDAR has up to 300 times greater search coverage than an aircraft without ViDAR meaning more lives saved and lower mission costs.

The pods will carry the full ViDAR suite of ultra-high resolution day and night capable cameras as well as image processing hardware, providing a fully integrated system. The ViDAR SCAR-Pod is easily installed to the airframe, providing a highly efficient autonomous search capability that is able to detect targets that radars cannot find.

Airborne Technologies, being an EASA Design, Production & Maintenance Organisation uses its engineering and testing capability to conduct integration trials and Phoenix Aerospace will provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region and demonstrate the system to potential customers. Sentient Vision Systems’ own Field Integration Teams will continue to help customers with ViDAR SCAR-Pod integration and operator training.

Note to Editors:

About Sentient Vision Systems

Sentient is a leading developer of Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence software solutions for defence and civilian projects. Since 1999 the company has specialised in imagery analysis, building practical solutions that automatically detect and tracking small moving objects over land or small objects on the surface of the ocean. Actively used in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), the solutions enhance situational awareness and support strategic decisions.

About Airborne Technologies

Airborne Technologies (an approved Design, Production and Maintenance Organisation) designs, integrates and certifies state-of-the-art special mission equipment and systems into new & existing airframes for governments, police, military and many sectors of industry. The company has developed partnerships with leading aircraft and sensor manufacturers as well as a long term and loyal customer base. It is acknowledged as a global partner for Airborne ISR Solutions and Sensor Integrations into a wide range of fixed- and rotary wing platforms.

About Phoenix Aerospace

Phoenix Aerospace is a boutique Aerospace Design and Installation Company sized to deliver cost effective niche solutions, for fixed wing and rotary platforms. The company with bases in the UK and UAE offers fully accredited turnkey solutions from concept to certification worldwide and are happy to engage with clients at any one stage, in line with their requirements. Phoenix Aerospace has been providing services to the Aerospace Industry for over 20 years, with certifications including CAA Part 21J, Part 21G, and Part 145.


For further information:

Ryan Ilahi

Marketing Manager

Sentient Vision Systems

Tel: +61 (0) 450 457 729



Editorial and PR contact:

Philip Hicks

Principal Consultant & Founder

Pravo Consulting

Tel: +44 (0)7467 510339