At this year’s African Aerospace and Defence (AAD 2022), Turkish company Aselsan and South Africa’sstate-owned Denel will collaborate on building the ‘MEROPS’ next-generation air surveillance and targeting gimbal sight. The MEROPS (Multi-spectral Extended Range Optical Sight). Aselsan displayed the MEROPS on the Turkish Pavilion at Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022.
Both defence companies reached an agreement to work towards the integration of the MEROPS system on Denel’s flagship aerospace systems, the Rooivalk attack helicopter and possibly on the Seeker 400 drone.
The MEROPS system was specifically designed for extreme combat situations, particularly in low light and the difficult light encountered at dawn and dusk. Among the roles envisaged for MEROPS are medium to long-range observation and reconnaissance, pointing, area illumination and target designation at medium altitude.
The sight incorporates the latest in image processing technologies, including traditional image enhancement, as well as the latest in machine vision and AI-based algorithms. Its mission enhancement capabilities include moving target identification, isotherms, false colour identification and threat identification.
According to South African-based defenceWeb, a “MEROPS gimbal is being displayed alongside the Rooivalk in the static area. defenceWeb also explains that the MEROPS is a self-contained single LRU (line-replacement unit) with quick-release connections. Payloads can be exchanged without calibration. Electronic bore-sighting is done before a mission, and it boasts an embedded web server for setup, control, and maintenance. According to Kobus Coetzee, ASA’s Engineering Manager, the MEROPS is easy to maintain.”
“Its next-generation software functionality includes multi-target auto-tracking with target re-acquisition, artificial intelligence (AI) threat detection classification and background automatic see-spot detection. The MEROPS operates at temperatures from -40°C to 70°C.”
“Aselsan as a global company operates in a wide range of disciplines, from communication and information technologies (ICT), micro-electronics, guidance and electro-optics to radar, electronic warfare, and defence systems technologies. It is also active in transportation, security, energy, and automation systems. At the AAD 2022, Aselsan displayed a number of defence systems such as military and professional radios, the KALKAN mobile medium altitude 3D air defence radar, ALKAR 120 mm mortar weapon system, border security solutions, laser guidance kit, the FOPRAD foliage penetration radar, electro-optic solutions, and anti-drone RF jammer system.”