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D
VR - Military Applications

Page 4 of 6

Intelligence units and special operations forces were the first 'land users' of Digital Video Recorders (DVR). Miniature DVR cameras developed for government intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and private investigators, have been utilized for covert intelligence collection, and recording of data from covert, field deployable surveillance systems. These users employed COTS based systems.

Military applications began with similar uses, but, with the proliferation of asymmetric warfare and the subsequent increases in deployment of peacekeeping forces, recorders are assuming new roles, including the monitoring of military operations in a manner similar to the methods commonly used for fighter aircraft and helicopters. Like airborne systems, additional applications include training and mission debriefing. Portable DVRs are commonly used to record voice, images and occasionally short videos. Portable systems are commonly used to store image-based information (for example, pictures of suspects), situational maps, digital reports etc.

Military video recorders use proprietary or commercially available DVR software and support standard commercial video compression formats (MPEG 2 or MPEG 4). High capacity, hard-disk drive based systems provide for long duration recording, providing 20+ hours of multi-channel recording, while the more compact flash-disk based systems utilize proprietary systems to achieve maximum compression in order to make the best use of the limited storage, and conserve power for extended operation. Systems relying on Hard Disk Drives (HDD) must be designed to survive the harsh conditions encountered during military use, for which ruggedized equipment may not be sufficient. When required to operate in extreme field conditions and in airborne applications, systems usually use solid-state memory modules. This type of recorder is usually more expensive than commercially available ruggedized gear, and is used for special applications, such as observation posts, and surveillance units.

Basic systems support single channel video or voice recording, commonly augmented with a time-stamp for data synchronization during playback. When systems are provided as "black boxes", without an integral display, they do not support instant review of information and are used primarily for post mission debriefing and analysis. More sophisticated multi-channel systems are commonly used for intelligence gathering, in command posts, or on-board vehicles. These systems can record multiple feeds of video, voice communications, weapon's position information, etc. They also provide an important 'instant review' capability, which allows the observer to view a recorded event while continuing to record real-time events, enabling on the spot investigation, review, and analysis of online and stored information. This capability becomes essential when a thorough examination of an ongoing event is required, or when comparison with relevant past events are performed.

Advanced 4 channel and 6 channel recorders have recently been introduced as ruggedized and military qualified systems, supporting intelligence gathering and combat elements. Video and voice loggers have previously been used at the field level, usually employing commercial off the shelf (COTS) equipment, and deployed primarily in intelligence processing and recording centers.
 

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  Updated: 10/20/2006

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