At the IMDEX exhibition in Singapore the Italian company SitepItalia unveiled its SX-424 new generation of its multirole acoustic stabilized system (MASS), confirming its on-going deliveries to an undisclosed customer in Singapore
The new SX-424 MASS system represents a quantum leap technological refresh and ITAR free development of the current generation MASS already in service with the Italian Navy and the Finnish Coast Guard. “The MASS is a defence device offering a solution for naval, defence and security facing asymmetrical threats in all scenarios limited to self-defence, operational patrolling, combat support or any situation during which non-lethal deterrent actions against a small or medium sized vessel might be requested,” Luigi Corradino, Asia sales market director at SitepItalia, told EDR On-Line.
The MASS family combines an acoustic hailer and a sensors suite integrating HD and thermal cameras, a laser range finder and a laser dazzler, together with a search light, all installed on a gyro-stabilized pedestal connected to a remote control station equipped with a video tracking module. Usually two units are installed on large naval platforms (one on starboard and the other on the port side) in order to ensure a complete horizon coverage. The MASS can be connected to the combat management system (CMS) to allow the direct control of one or both pedestals directly from the CMS.
The next gen MASS System
“The new generation MASS is a technological development of the previous model, based on an European industry research, technology and components package, representing the outcome of years research and development activities carried out by SitepItalia in a multidisciplinary field, ranging from computer vision to tracking algorithms, electro-optics, powerful illuminators, applied artificial intelligence, acoustic engineering and stabilization technologies,” explained the company’s representative.
The MASS SX-424 is powered by viOS® (visible & infrared optical system), a vertical hardware-software architecture for the handling and processing of multiple video sources developed by SitepItalia as the natural evolution of the existing electro-optic systems for the legacy branch products. viOS is based on Sitep’s GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) proprietary technology aiming at minimizing obsolescence issues and augmenting computing power to let the integrated neural network monitoring and stabilization algorithm to work at their best.
It provides overall control of the visible and thermal protocols, bi-axial stabilization (mechanical/software stabilization combination), up to 4K resolution video, customized integration of different thermal sensors (LWIR, MWIR and others), all in a reduced space for easing integration thanks to SitepItalia proprietary know-how.
The viOS manages the sensors suite including a full HD (1920×1080) daylight camera with a 58.1° to 2.3° field-of-view, 30x enhanced optical zoom and 12x digital zoom, characterized by visibility enhancer and defog together with high sensitivity, a SitepItalia uncooled 640×480 thermal camera, a class 1 laser rangefinder with an 8,000 meters maximum range, and a laser dazzler. With a 5,000 mW laser power with continuous or strobe mode, the latter allows deterrent actions at long distance in combination with the acoustic hailer. Alternative type of cameras and power of laser dazzler can be integrated in the system in case of specific requirements.
“Representing a next generation European equipment, the acoustic hailer has been developed on the basis of a cooperation agreement between SitepItalia and PASS Medientechnik GmbH of Germany, which develops and manufactures high-capable acoustic mobile systems based on specific customer requirements such as the demanding system for the MASS. The agreement ensures future system developments and support its whole life cycle, a key requirement for customers,” the SitepItalia representative underlined.
With a maximum sound pressure of 161dB peak at 1 meter the acoustic hailer offers long range and directive acoustic communications with a 3,000 meters maximum range for intelligible voice messages (ideal conditions) with +85 dB(A) and an operational 2,000 meters distance at +90 dB(A), while the pain barrier is set at 125 meters with +120dB(A).
Additional features beside these main functionalities are provided by the integration of a searchlight for night illumination which requirement is satisfied by the collaboration between the Italian company and Wiseled of Denmark, which is providing a brand new long-range maritime searchlight based on a 15 mCd focusable laser searchlight, combined with either two powerful wide-angle LED floodlights or the combination of a capable Green Laser Dazzler and an IR laser, depending on customers’ requirements.
The system is also capable of recording both audio messages sent and the video stream from the cameras for future use or as a proof of countermeasures used for target deterrence.
All these capabilities are located on a gyro-stabilized pedestal with a 290 kg weight and 1.52 meters tall, 0.95 meters wide and 0.66 meters deep, offering a 360° azimuthal and +/-90° elevation coverage with a 50°/sec rotation speed and +/-0,5° pointing accuracy.
The MASS can also find application in situations where no deterrent action is required but the long-range acoustic and illumination capabilities can be used to finalize search and rescue missions, typically in refugees saving operations, further widening the system mission basket.
The MASS control console unit represents the human machine interface and allows direct, simultaneous or redundant control of the external units through the connection to the system internal server network .
Local presence in Singapore and new perspectives
The enhanced MASS system is technically and logistically supported in the Singapore geographic area thanks to a partnership set up with mutual benefits with Miltrade Technologies – Defence & Security. In his stand at IMDEX this small and medium enterprise of Singapore hosted the SitepItalia system to which it provide maintenance and in-service support for local operators.
The SX-424 has a new customer in Singapore; “due to contract restriction” the company does not provide additional information, except that factory acceptance trials were successfully completed on last January. EDR On-Line has independently verified that the customer is the Republic of Singapore Navy, as the system has been highlighted by the Ministry of Defence documentation on board the Sentinel class MSRVs (Maritime Security and Response Vessels), the MASS being installed and visible on board the first-of-class vessel. The Asian customer is not alone, as SitepItalia has already been awarded contracts to equip some Italian Navy platforms with the new MASS system, and additional perspectives are coming, alongside the follow-on upgrading of the in-service MASS system. Another supply contract is being currently signed in the Far East, while live demonstrations are being carried out with undisclosed potential customers including first rank navies and armed forces, as the system can also be used for critical infrastructure protection.
Photos courtesy SitepItalia and L. Peruzzi. Graphic courtesy Singapore MoD