Mercury Federal Systems Delivers Onboard Real-time Processing Technology for U.S. Air Force’s Gorgon Stare Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance System

State-of-the-art image processing and data storage subsystems are integrated by Sierra Nevada Corporation into an MQ-9 Reaper-mounted pod set to provide unmatched EO/IR persistent surveillance capabilities to the warfighter

CHELMSFORD, Mass. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — October 18, 2011 — Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY,, a trusted provider of commercially developed application-ready ISR subsystems, announced that its Mercury Federal Systems subsidiary is part of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)-led team that received the United States Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Foundation’s 2011 Industry Achievement Award. This prestigious annual award, presented October 18, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in GEOINT tradecraft by an individual or team from industry. Mercury provided SNC with onboard real-time image processing and storage subsystems, which are key components of the U.S. Air Force’s Gorgon Stare persistent surveillance system, currently deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The United States Air Force (USAF)’s Gorgon Stare (GS) Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance System, developed by the SNC-led, best-of-breed industry team under the USAF/Big Safari rapid acquisition program, has been flying operational missions since April, 2011. Hosted on a USAF/General Atomics long-dwell MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicle, each GS orbit provides uninterrupted, 24/7 visible and IR coverage of city-sized areas, providing real-time motion video directly to theater and tactical forces engaged in operations. In addition to its primary tactical consumers, this game-changing system also provides these products in near real-time to the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) enterprise for unprecedentedly rapid exploitation and time-sensitive forensic analysis support. The entire mission data set, which is recorded onboard the aircraft in machine-lossless format, is provided post-mission for live, long-term archiving and discovery, and additional current exploitation.

“The Air Force required a long-dwell, multi-sensor system that could support numerous, simultaneous surveillance missions, providing real-time support to ground forces and forensic information to analysts. Equally important was how quickly the system could deploy for operations,” said David Bullock, vice president, ISR Persistent Surveillance, Sierra Nevada Corporation. “Mercury’s renowned expertise in embedded, high-performance digital signal and image processing and their ability to accelerate time to deployment made them a clear choice for the Increment 1 core team."

In addition to Mercury Federal Systems, SNC’s Increment 1 partners included ITT Geospatial Systems, MIT/LL, L3, Gitchner, and AdamWorks. SNC is currently under USAF contract to develop the next generation of Gorgon Stare systems. In addition to its Increment 1 partners, the SNC-led Increment 2 team adds BAE Systems as the next-generation visible sensor provider.

Rugged, Open Processing Technology

Mercury’s on-board, real-time sensor signal processing subsystem utilizes open, standards-based 6U OpenVPX architecture and includes the following commercial computing hardware and software building blocks: OpenVPX GPU processing module, Switch module, Intel® Core i7-based Server module, and Imaging Toolkit. Together, these modules are used to execute the advanced real-time algorithms to generate the EO and IR imagery products. Mercury’s ruggedized solid state disk drive–based Digital Storage Unit stores mission data for both immediate exploitation and longer term forensic analysis.

“Mercury’s flexible, size, weight and power-optimized processing architecture provides unmatched performance through new on-board capabilities for Sierra Nevada’s system solution, enabling the most powerful data processing and exploitation to occur closer to the sensor while overcoming air-to-ground communications bottlenecks,” said Dr. Paul Monticciolo, general manager, Mercury Federal Systems. “Warfighters and analysts will be better able to extract actionable intelligence from the resulting imagery and exploitation products in near-real time through ROVER displays and dissemination through the DCGS. As a result, our forces will have persistent situational awareness of ground activities.”

About Mercury Federal Systems

Mercury Federal Systems (MFS) Inc., a subsidiary of Mercury Computer Systems, provides ISR system and technology solutions to the U.S. Government that meet national defense needs. The company has world-class domain expertise in deploying commercially-developed hardware, open-source software, and open standards–based Application Ready Subsystem solutions that increase performance and productivity while reducing system cost. MFS delivers adaptable hardware and software operating across multiple sensor platforms; multi-INT tasking, fusion and exploitation techniques; flexible sensor and computing systems; open system architecture implementations; and application-ready hardware/software systems for rapid implementation.

For more information on Mercury Federal Systems, visit, call 703.413.0781 or email

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one of America’s fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and President and CFO Eren Ozmen, SNC employs over 2100 people in 30 locations in 15 states. SNC’s seven unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.

SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen’s leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit .

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