Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI)


Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) systems are Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) weapon systems that are deployed on aircraft with the objective of finding, fixing and tracking ground targets. These systems bring our country situational awareness that cannot be matched. Existing systems, however, are not compatible with the airplanes of the future: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

UAVs are much smaller and lighter than the manned aircraft WAMI systems are typically deployed on, resulting in a huge reduction in sensor payload weight. As more UAVs are being developed and deployed, the need for a compatible WAMI system has arisen. This is a WAMI system that weighs less than 500lbs.

Our approach consisted of three phases: Conceptual Design, Performance Analysis, and Trade-Off Analysis. In the conceptual design, we decomposed the system and researched historic data and perspective trends for each subsystem. This enabled us to identify and assess potential opportunities for reducing the total weight of the system.

We entered the Performance Analysis phase with a selection of weight-reducing alternatives.  By modeling the performance for each combination of the WAMI subsystems, we were able to calculate the total storage required by performance, and associated storage weight.  Alternatives that were considered to have a sub-par performance or were above the weight threshold were eliminated from the remainder of our analysis.

In the Trade-Off Analysis phase, we calculated the total value delivered to our stakeholder and selected a sample of best-value alternatives across a variety of system weights.  Characteristics of these best-value alternatives were identified and analyzed.  Our results enabled us to present to our sponsor, Secretary of the Air Force Acquisition Department, what is sacrificed and gained, with respect to performance and suitability, when the WAMI system weight is reduced.