Home ARCHIVE Fotoniks Launches a New Generation of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems with ATLAS 2

Fotoniks Launches a New Generation of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems with ATLAS 2

by MSI

Reconnaissance and surveillance systems (RSS) continue to evolve in line with the advances in sensors, the emerging requirements for network-enabled capabilities and the changes in the concepts of use. Today’s users need a system that not only brings together a multitude of different sensors, but that can also be remotely controlled and that can serve for long periods in the field. As one of the leading companies in RSS in the Turkish defence and aerospace sector, Fotoniks is developing the ATLAS 2 Modular Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MRSS) to meet all of these requirements, and is offering the highest performance and the optimum solution.


Its modular design and structure allows ATLAS 2 to be fitted with different sensors.


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ATLAS 2’s user interface is based on the operational use experience gained with ATLAS 1 and ORKA-B

ATLAS 2, which represents the next stage in Fotoniks’ product development road map, is a solution that is teeming with up-to-date technologies and concepts. At the start of its road map in 2013, Fotoniks developed ATLAS 1 in its first foray into the field of RSS. As a general short-range surveillance system, ATLAS 1 provided Fotoniks with the ability to conduct and complete works in the fields of mobile platforms, remote control units, external battery units and user interfaces. Designed as a modular system, ATLAS 1 was the forerunner to ATLAS 2.Equipped with a day and night camera that can satisfy all close-perimeter surveillance and security needs, ATLAS 1 was introduced as a cost-effective solution for the perimeter security of airports and other critical facilities. ATLAS 2, on the other hand, is a higher performance system designed for a broad variety of different uses, ranging from border security to perimeter security, and from reconnaissance and surveillance to target detection.

Highlighting that ATLAS 2 was conceived after looking at the most recent global developments in the field, Cem Yazıcıoğlu, General Manager of Fotoniks, said: “What we call here the concept of RSS is generally referred to in the West as ‘Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance’. Using the word intelligence in relation to RSS products not only indicates that the images produced by these systems provide different forms of intelligence-related information, but also alludes to the importance of RSS from a tactical to strategic level. As an extension of this, and in the light of the growing use of smart systems and machine learning in the 21st century, it is expected that it will be possible to extract more meaning from images. Augmented reality, target tracking, motion sensitivity, advanced human-machine interfaces and automation are the topics that are currently standing out the most, and we are starting to implement all of them with the ATLAS 2 RSS family. In summary, ATLAS 2 is a modern reconnaissance, surveillance and image intelligence system that can:

  • Detect, analyse and identify targets;
  • Determine target coordinates;
  • Display the threat in the infrared band;
  • Perform signalling, measurement and lighting on its own or while positioned at locations such as bases or outposts, and also issue alerts in the event of laser targeting for guidance purposes;
  • Convey its images simultaneously to different image sources;
  • Be controlled via cable or remotely/wirelessly; and
  • Engage in connections according to the principle of the Internet of Things, in adherence with security protocols.”
AZMIM - C - Fotoniks

Image of a group of vehicles, including the KUNDUZ Armoured Amphibious Combat Earthmover (AACE) of FNSS, as seen through the medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera of Fotoniks’ ATLAS 2 family.

Specialised and Cost-Effective Solutions

One of the ATLAS 2 family’s most important features is its modularity. The family’s basic architecture permits scalability, making it possible to integrate different sensors and subsystems onto the infrastructure that constitutes the system’s backbone. This allows the systems to not only match mission requirements, but also to conform to user preferences. For example, depending on the nature of the mission, it becomes possible to establish short-, medium- or long-range configurations. Alternatively, if the user wishes to reduce costs, it can employ sensors that meet the minimum requirements. Thanks to the system’s modularity, these types of changes can be made without a lengthy integration process. In all of these configurations, the basic components – which can be described as the support units – always remain the same.

In this respect, users of ATLAS 2 actually procure a system whose functions and components can be changed throughout its life cycle, and that can hence be adapted to different needs.


High Mission Readiness

ATLAS 2 offers high mission readiness to its users, even under the harshest of operational conditions. The system achieves this through the reliability of its components as well as its modular structure. In the event of a malfunction in one of the system’s main components, only that component needs to be detached and sent for repairs, while the others can be left to operate and serve normally. For example, if an ATLAS 2 system fitted with an MWIR thermal camera and day camera experiences problems with the thermal camera, the system can still continue to function with its day camera until the faulty component is replaced.

ATAK MWIR ATLAS 2 - C - Fotoniks DSC_2737 - C - MSI Dergisi

An image of T129 ATAK helicopters in formation flight at the EFES 2018 exercise, as seen through the medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera of Fotoniks’ ATLAS 2 system (left), and a real photograph of a similar formation flight (right).


Modern Approaches to Network Connections

When it comes to network connections and the ability to access via networks, it must be said that military systems are slightly lagging behind those in the civilian field. For example, even if you travel abroad nowadays, you can obtain real-time images from a camera in your home, and if this camera senses motion, it can send you a warning via your mobile phone.

Due to security concerns, many capabilities used in civilian systems have not yet made it into military systems. Fotoniks, on the other hand, is preparing to offer these capabilities and features in ATLAS 2, with no concessions made to security. ATLAS 2 has been designed to permit different connections. Once the necessary security protocols are in place, the system can, if deemed necessary, be controlled wirelessly via a tablet or smart phone. Depending on the speed and quality of the wireless communication infrastructure, images obtained by ATLAS 2 can be shared through the intranet or internet, and this allows users with the necessary authorizations to use ATLAS 2 through smart devices such as phones and tablets.


Image of an anti-aircraft gun as seen through the medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera of ATLAS 2.


Image of landing ships at a distance heading towards the coast during the EFES 2018 exercise, optically zoomed six times using the medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera of ATLAS 2.

Fotoniks 1 MWIR ATLAS 1 - C - Fotoniks

Different Solutions for Different Needs

The ATLAS 2 product family further comprises the ATLAS 2A and ATLAS 2B. The ATLAS 2A configuration stands out with its high performance, while the ATLAS 2B appeals to users who need a more cost-effective solution.

ATLAS 2A, which weights less than 20 kg, comprises the following main units:

  • Cooled MWIR 640X512 resolution Thermal Camera System (HD 1280×1024 option available)
  • HD Long-Range Day Camera
  • SWIR 640X512 Thermal Camera (Optional)
  • GPS
  • Digital Magnetic Compass
  • Laser Rangefinder
  • Laser Pointer
  • Laser Warning System (Optional)
  • Support Units
    • Operator Command Unit
    • Smart Tablet Unit (Optional)
    • External Battery Unit
    • Tripod Stand
    • Base Plate


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Image of a landing ship at the EFES 2018 exercise taken by Fotoniks’ ATLAS 2 system (left), and a real photograph of the same area taken
from a different broader perspective (right).


The ATLAS 2B, which weighs less than 15 kg, comprises the following main units:

  • Uncooled MWIR 640X512 resolution Thermal Camera System (HD 1280×1024 option available)
  • HD Long-Range Day Camera
  • GPS
  • Digital Magnetic Compass
  • Laser Rangefinder
  • Laser Warning System (Optional)
  • Support Units
    • Operator Command Unit
    • Smart Tablet Unit (Optional)
    • External Battery Unit
    • Tripod Stand
    • Base Plate


Images of the preparation of anti-aircraft guns (left) and firing (right) at the EFES 2018 exercise, as seen through the medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera of Fotoniks’ ATLAS 2.


If requested, ATLAS 2 can also be integrated on top of a vehicle. With a typical use regime, the system can operate for six to eight hours based on its portable external battery. This duration can be further extended depending on requirements. The system can also be powered by the vehicle upon which it is mounted, or from the electrical grid.

The system software of ATLAS 2 carries Fotoniks’ signature. On the production side, the company acts together with its domestic solution partners for the mechanical production and cabling components, and also for the production of electronic cards. The only component of ATLAS 2 that is sourced from abroad and is subject to an export permit is the thermal imaging detector unit.


ATLAS 2 Ready for Service

Describing the progress they have made to date, Yazıcıoğlu said: “ATLAS 2 is a product that has featured on our technology and product development road map from the very beginning. All development works were carried out indigenously, utilising our own resources. As a result of our efforts, we are proud to have come up with an efficient and cost-effective solution. We are now readying ATLAS 2 for serial production, after which we will offer it to the use of all institutions and organisations that require it, particularly the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish National Police (TNP), although we believe the system may also successfully meet the requirements of friendly and allied nations. The ATLAS 2 product family can be used in different configurations for new type outposts, border security and critical facility protection, and taking into account its export potential, we predict the production and delivery of nearly 300 units within the next three years. We would like to invite anyone who wishes to closely inspect the members of the ATLAS product family to visit our stand at the IDEF 2019 exhibition.”

The various imaging units used in the ATLAS 2 product family were successfully utilised during the EFES 2018 exercise held in May, providing images captured at different points of the exercise area to the distinguished observers. The system prototypes are currently undergoing field tests that are expected to be completed shortly.

COUGAR MWIR 2 700mm LENS - C - Fotoniks SWIR COUGAR 2 - C - Fotoniks

An image of a helicopter as seen through the ATLAS 2 system’s medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera (left), and another image from the optional short wave infrared camera of ATLAS 2 (right).

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