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AVALON 2023: SiNAB showcases ISR and JTAC training pod

Sydney-based SiNAB showcased its Phoenix Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) pod at AVALON 2023.  The Phoenix Pod is a self-contained ISR asset that incorporates a high resolution EO/IR sensor, laser pointer and designator and multiple air to ground communication systems including Secure Voice and Data (CNR/VMF), Link16, Video Down Link (VDL) and Mobile ad hoc network (MANET).

The Phoenix Pod was mounted on SiNAB’s O2-A test and evaluation aircraft at AVALON, but the SiNAB Virtual Hangar experience meant visitors could also see the inherent flexibility of the system as it is fitted to a variety of military and civil aircraft via.

SiNAB CEO Tony Landers says the Phoenix Pod technology was developed with the support of the RAAF and a Defence Innovation Hub contract awarded in 2019 and enables training aircraft to emulate the long-range target location and Close Air Support (CAS) capabilities of more expensive military aircraft.

“We built a system that enables low-cost aircraft to deliver training to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) using our Phoenix Pod,” he told EX2. “The Pod can be fitted to different aircraft with little or no integration. It has self-contained battery power and is operated via a tablet HMI that connects wirelessly to the pod. It enables low-cost airborne assets to interoperate with current and emerging DACAS systems.

“Support from the Defence Innovation Hub has allowed us to evolve the system from prototype through to operational test and evaluation. We now have a system that can be used in support of Australian and international JTAC Training.”

The Phoenix Pod is a core component of SiNAB’s Phoenix JTAC Training Solution (PJTS) which has been developed to help the Australian Defence Force meet the JTAC training obligations set out in the JTAC Memorandum of Agreement. The PJTS provides all the functionality required to carry out a digitally aided close air support mission, from transmitting 9-lines and target sorting messages to providing a complete suite of long-range electro-optic and infrared cameras that facilitate the F2T2EA kill chain.

“The Phoenix Pod has been flown on Learjets, PC-9’s and our Cessna O-2A Test and Evaluation aircraft. Versality is the strength of the Pod – it can be fitted to any type of aircraft that has stores pylons fitted, which allows for a range of contract CAS solutions in support of military training without using valuable hours from operational military aircraft.”

The Phoenix Pod can be used for any service where aerial surveillance is critical for decision-making, Landers adds. “Natural disaster response from bushfires to search and rescue are examples that spring to mind where the Phoenix Pod could be rapidly mobilised to provide instant data where it is most needed.”

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