Like similar wide-area surveillance systems, such as Gorgon Stare, ARGUS-IS or the aerostat-mounted Kestrel, Constant Hawk was designed to give operators a fuller view of an area (such as a battlefield or operating base) than they would normally get from standard full-motion video cameras.
Constant Hawk flew on Short 360-300s in Iraq under the command of Task Force ODIN. And the system was introduced to Afghanistan in 2009, where it is still in use aboard MC-12W Liberty aircraft.
Initial work on Constant Hawk began in the early 2000s at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of the Sonoma Persistent Surveillance Program, a U.S. Department of Energy effort to monitor nuclear proliferation.
In 2005, Sonoma was passed to the Department of Defense, which eventually developed Constant Hawk for the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army adopted the program under the name of Mohawk Stare, which was the predecessor to Constant Hawk.
Since 2005, MIT has been developing processing algorithms enabling efficient formation, exploitation and dissemination of Constant Hawk imagery.
In 2013, the MIT sensor MASIVS was deployed by Constant Hawk increasing pixel counts by an order of magnitude and providing full color imagery processed in real-time onboard the aircraft.
This allows intelligence analysts to detect roadside bombs and prepared ambushes.
Upgrades and Similar Systems
Additionally, many of Constant Hawk's capabilities have been miniaturized or improved in newer wide-area persistent surveillance systems such as Logos Technologies' Kestrel. Kestrel reduces size and weight, while increasing image resolution and adding a day/night surveillance capability.
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