Caledonian Star Very Low Light Surveillance System

Key Specifications:

Low light surveillance system installed on an aircraft.
  • Very Low Light Camera Head
  • 24 hour, day / night operation.
  • Very Low Mass. (<15 Kg for the entire system).
  • 2 Real Time CCIR / RS-170 Video outputs with operational data overlay.
  • High Power non visible light spectrum corrected zoom capability.
  • Focus on objects from 15m to infinity.
  • Miniature Gyro stabilized, <1° drift per minute.
  • Stabilized Platform Architecture uses unconventional stabilization techniques.
  • Video Overlay displaying Aircraft Nav. data, Target Data and System Operation Information.
  • ARINC 429 Interface for Aircraft Nav. data.
  • Dual ARINC 407 digitizers for vertical / directional gyro synchrony input data.
  • High Power non visible light spectrum Illuminator slaved to Camera Platform attitude
  • Optional features include tracking of user selected target (Lock on / Lock off)
  • System completely designed and manufactured by Caledonian Airborne Systems
  • Comprehensive mission data overlay on real-time video


Internal view of low light surveillance system installed on an aircraft.

The CPT-159 Very Low Light Airborne Camera System has been designed from first principles by Caledonian Airborne Systems with a single objective in mind: To identify vessels by recording their registration from a fixed wing platform for the purpose of identifying vessels found to be illegally dumping fluids during the night.

To this end the system comprises of a miniature gyro stabilized platform integrated within a camera head lens assembly. Although the camera head is very effective in low light conditions the operation is supported by a high power highly homogeneous non visible light spectrum illuminator, slaved in attitude to the camera head.

The illuminator is shown at the bottom of this page.

Subsequently, the System is capable of identifying alphanumerics of 30 cm in height, 2 cm line width with varying degrees of contrast ratio, at a distance of between 200 and 750 meters in pitch black conditions from altitudes of approximately 250 – 600 feet with an associated ground speed of 130 to 160 knots.

The Caledonian Star System consists of the following line replaceable items:

  • Camera Platform
  • Central Processor and Control Unit
  • Illuminator
  • Multi-Function Grip or Joystick
  • Multi-Function Grip / Joysticks Interface Unit
  • Flat Panel Surveillance Display
  • First Officers Flat Panel Display
External view of low light surveillance system installed on an aircraft.

Owing to the novel approach to airborne stabilized cameras by Caledonian, the system achieves very effective vibration isolation characteristics at a very low system mass. The low mass and aerodynamic protrusion requirements of the overall system further facilitate ease of installation. Below, the enclosures for the stabilized camera platform and illuminator are shown.