ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation Surveillance), from domain experts Leonardo, is a mission system optimised for surveillance.
Able to cover vast areas of land and sea, ATOS collects and fuses data from radar, electro-optical camera systems and other sensors to present a clear and comprehensive picture of the operator’s environment. The system integrates information from its various sensors in real time and delivers useful information to the operator, minimising the time and effort needed to understand an ongoing situation.
ATOS can also support well-informed decision making through its integration into a wider surveillance network, accessing information collected by other aircraft and naval or ground units.
ATOS around the world
In recent years, continued criminal activity and the proliferation of symmetrical and asymmetrical threats has led to steady international growth in demand for security solutions. Key markets for ATOS include Africa, Latin America and South East Asia, regions where the system often plays a critical role, with airborne surveillance compensating for a lack of ground-based infrastructure and sensors. Customers in Europe, Africa and Australia have already selected ATOS, with more than 60 systems installed on 10 different types of aircraft.
The system can be integrated onto any aircraft, whether that platform is new or already in operation. These can range from helicopters up to much larger fixed-wing patrol aircraft: depending on the size of the platform, ATOS can scale accordingly, with a compact solution for helicopters such as the AW139, while a larger aircraft such as the ATR 72 would feature multiple operator consoles.
Leonardo also offers a complete ATOS-based package, delivering an aircraft integrated with its mission system and sensors. Examples include the ATR families of patrol aircraft (ATR-42/72MP, P-72A), which are manufactured by Leonardo and fitted with its own avionics solutions and sensors. The company can also offer complete packages of post-sales services such as maintenance, training and upgrades.
ATOS is a well-proven system, but it remains at the forefront of surveillance capability thanks to Leonardo’s continuous investment in its development.
Leonardo pays particular attention to updates that can reduce operators’ workload and stress. This is important because modern patrol aircraft must be able to operate autonomously, with operators continuously monitoring multiple sensors throughout missions that can last several hours.
ATOS’s new operator workstations are designed to be comfortable and present on-screen information in a simpler, more intuitive manner (making use of windows and gestures that have become familiar to us through smartphone use), so that the crew can continue to concentrate and remain efficient throughout the mission.
The roadmap for the mission system is that it will become increasingly autonomous in terms of analysis, allowing users to concentrate fully on decision making. The next step will be the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into ATOS. This technology will make it possible for the system to process quantities of data that are unimaginable today, ensuring that the operator has an unprecedentedly complete, real-time view of their environment.