Category: iFerret

Stratech’s iFerret Patent Approved

Stratech Press Release:

Singapore, 19 May 2011 – Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems Limited (“Stratech” or “the Group”) today announced that its Singapore patent application for the iFerret™ Intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and FOD (Foreign Object and Debris) Detection System has been approved by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS). Beyond Singapore, Stratech is seeking to protect its IP in iFerret™ with similar patent applications filed in countries worldwide.

Designed and developed in Singapore, Stratech’s iFerret™ is the world’s first Intelligent Vision-based FOD Detection System. Using Stratech’s Intelligent Vision software and state-of-the-art Electro-Optic (EO) Sensors, iFerret™ automatically detects, locates, classifies and records FOD in commercial airports and military airbases. Upon the detection of FOD, iFerret™ enables operators to zoom in on the subject for visual verification before sending a remote alert to ground crew to remove the FOD. (more…)

Patent News – iFerret

A US patent application has been published for Stratech’s FOD detection system (iFerret). Here’s the abstract and link.


A surveillance system and method for detecting a foreign object, debris, or damage (FOD) on a runway. The system comprises one or more cameras for capturing images of the runway; and an image processing system for detecting the FOD on the runway based on adaptive image processing of the images captured by the cameras; wherein the surveillance system is adaptively operable for FOD detection under both day and night ambient light conditions without assisted illumination such as infrared or laser illuminators.

number = “20110063445”,
author = “Chew, Khien Meow David (Singapore, SG)”,
year = “2011”,
month = “March”,
url = “

Catch up

Due to other commitments I’m a little behind with the FOD news from the last few weeks, so here’s a summary:

Edwards Air Force Base, they’re very serious about FOD

Oh, how I loathe checks for foreign object debris. FOD checks consist of everyone in each vehicle getting out with screwdrivers and removing every single rock stuck in the treads. (source)

Stratech’s iFerret Tackles Major Runway Hazards Faced By Airports Today

This story appeared on at least 3 news sites during the last few weeks.,, and I’m not sure if we should read anything into the fact that the 3 websites are all related to the stock market.

Runway Debris Detection Systems Saves Lives

A QinetiQ article at Airport-International that discusses the Concorde incident. (source)

Justice, Safety Require Balance

An Editorial at Aviation Week that discusses the Concorde incident, and the issue with FOD, but makes no mention of the existence of FOD detection systems.

Significantly, there are no uniform standards for what is acceptable FOD or how to find the junk that could cause harm, just general agreement to try to eliminate all debris. This is accomplished chiefly through periodic inspections. (source)

iFerret presentation

An iFerret product page, including a presentation has appeared on the SITA site (Stratech, the company behind iFerret, formed a partnership with SITA in 2008),  I recommend you turn the sound off on your PC as the music can be a little irritating.[update: the page has been removed, and is no longer on the SITA website] (more…)

Stratech’s iFerret wins ATC global 2010 award for innovation

This is starting to become a bit of a trend for FOD detection systems, last year QinetiQ won this award for their Tarsier system, this year it’s the turn of Stratech’s iFerret. It’s great to see these innovative systems being rewarded, but unfortunately a bursting trophy cabinet will not provide much comfort when the sales book is empty. None of these systems have yet penetrated the market in any meaningful way, and maybe this award for “innovation” is actually pointing out one of the major barriers to sales. All the systems currently available are technically complex and innovative, and so far only a handful of airports have taken on the role of the “early adopter”.

Whether any of these systems will ever become mainstream is a good question. It’s been almost 10 years since the Concorde incident, and it’s that incident that first brought the issue of FOD to the attention of the public, but since then we have had 9/11, which shifted the focus of the airports to security, and then the miracle on the Hudson, which shifted it to the threat from bird strikes, and more recently another shift back to security with the desperate requirement to install full body scanners.

For many airports the FOD problem appears to be down the priority list, and it’s not entirely surprising. If you were to ask a passenger what he/she is most concerned about when boarding a plane: security, bird strikes, or FOD,  the answer you’ll get is obvious, “what’s FOD?” When you combine this lack of public (and therefore airport) interest with the technically complex nature of the systems available, it’s not surprising that we don’t see many FOD detection systems being sold. (more…)

Stratech Partners Itochu to Penetrate Japan Market

Stratech press release

Singapore, 26 January 2010 – Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems Limited (“Stratech” or “the Group”) today announced a strategic alliance with Itochu Singapore Pte. Ltd. (“Itochu”) to market Stratech’s iFerret™ intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and Foreign Object and Debris (FOD) Detection System in Japan.

Under the agreement, Itochu will market, sell to and deploy, support iFerret™ at Japan Self Defense Force airbases as well as targeted commercial airports in Japan. Itochu is one of the largest global trading companies in Japan.

Besides operating as a FOD detection system, iFerret™ can be deployed at airbases to meet the military’s surveillance needs. Featuring its unique advanced intelligent Vision technology, iFerret™ is a pioneering system capable of Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) during war time for runway surface condition monitoring and to support rapid runway repair (RRR).

Regular human inspection or running of vehicles in a search pattern for hours along the runway is ineffective and dangerous during war time. iFerret™ utilises electro-optic sensors to automatically detect, locate, classify and record craters/unexploded ordnance in the airbase. The timely and accurate assessment of damage to the airfield/runway resulting from the application of military force is critical as it allows the re-planning of flight landing/take-off and the prioritization of runway repair.

“We are delighted to appoint Itochu as our value-added reseller for Stratech’s state-of-the-art iFerret™ system. Itochu’s strong foothold in Japan offers Stratech tremendous leverage in penetrating the market for Battle Damage Assessment and FOD Detection Systems,” said Dr. David K.M. Chew, Executive Chairman of Stratech.

iFerret™ is currently in operation at Singapore Changi Airport for FOD detection. Concurrently, iFerret™ is being piloted at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the second busiest airport in the world, to monitor both the runway and taxiway.

Deployment of FOD detection systems

Before considering a FOD detection system, thought has to be given to where the system can be deployed on the airfield (if it can be deployed at all). For FOD Detect and FOD Finder this is not an issue, FOD Finder is a vehicle mounted system, and FOD Detect is installed in the place of existing runway lights. For Tarsier and iFerret, finding suitable locations can be difficult, not only due to the strict rules imposed by AC150/5300-13, but also by the availability of power and data-links.

Although the Tarsier and iFerret systems both employ different detection technologies (Radar and camera respectively), they are still both bound by the same requirement, they both need clear line-of-sight to the runway, and must achieve this without breaking the rules imposed in AC150/5300-13, specifically, the Primary Surface, the Transitional Surface and the Taxiway Object Free Area Width. (more…)

Google Street view imagery of iFerret tower

Google updated their Streetview imagery today to include Singapore, this imagery includes an iFerret tower installed at Changi International.

View Larger Map

Stratech’s iFerret to be deployed at a European airport

Stratech press release:

Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems Limited (“Stratech”) today announced that it has received a purchase order for the deployment of its iFerret™ intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and Foreign Object and Debris (FOD) Detection System at an airport in Europe.

iFerret™ will be implemented at an airport in Europe to monitor FOD on the taxiway and apron – the world’s first apron deployment for FOD detection. The apron is the area where aircraft are parked, loaded/unloaded, refueled or boarded by passengers, while the taxiway links the runway to different areas of the airport.

Dr. David K.M. Chew, Executive Chairman of Stratech, said: “FOD events do not occur only on runways. According to the UK Civil Aviation Administration, FOD events occur mostly on the apron (55%), followed by taxiway (30%) and runway (15%). Although fatality of FOD incidents is acknowledged on the runway, there is a need to manage occurrences on the apron and taxiway where FOD is much more frequent.”

iFerret sale to Changi International worth $8.4 million (USD)

The Edge (singapore based business publication) are stating the value of the contract with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for the installation of iFerret at Changi International is worth $8.4 million (USD) over 10 years. Download the article here (PDF).

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