Stark Aerospace Inc., Columbus, Mississippi, was awarded a $56,087,580 firm-fixed-price contract for sustainment services of the Shadow Plug-In Optronic 300 series payloads in support of product manager Aerial Enhanced Radar, Optics, and Sensors. This lightweight, compact multi-sensor gyro-stabilized system in used for observation, surveillance, tracking and targeting applications. The POP300 is a Plug-in Optronic Payload electro-optical sensor system. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 25, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56KGY-21-D-0005).
The POP300 is an ideal solution for light reconnaissance aircraft, static pole installations, UAVs, military and police helicopters, naval vessels and ground vehicles. The POP300 is built of a turret, housing the payload motion and stabilization elements, and sensor “slices” that offer different sensor/laser combinations. This unique design enables easy reconfiguration in the field and provides the user with operational flexibility. The standard sensor configuration of the POP300 includes state-of-the-art, high sensitivity, large format FPA of the 3-5μ band thermal imager and contains a powerful continuous-zoom, Day TV (DTV), with Near-IR (NIR) capability and a laser pointer.
The POP300’s active dual-axis stabilized gimbals with real time automatic video tracker (AVT) make it the perfect solution for image vibration compensation. The POP300 is easily installed and has a simple electrical interface, and its compact size reduces structural loading and improves platform stability. Stark has composite build to print and design and build manufacturing capability from component level through fully integrated assemblies and structures. Stark’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Division produces the ArrowLite™ small UAS system, and supports the U.S. Army Hunter MQ-5B Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Sensors Division assembles and repairs Plug-In Optronic Payloads (POP), including variants of the POP300 (D, HD, I, LR) used on the Army RQ-7 Shadow UAS.