Compact Tracking Mount (CTM) by Photo-Sonics

Companies & Organizations:

United States of America

Photo-Sonics Inc
9131 Independence Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311

The Photo-Sonics Compact Tracking Mount (CTM) provides a high performance TSPI, vibration-free data gathering system in a rugged, portable configuration.  A primary goal was to design a system that could be transported, set up and operated by one individual, while retaining features of the typically larger tracking mounts.  With over 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing tracking systems, Photo-Sonics has incorporated the same high performance and quality engineering found in the field-proven Cine-Sextant Tracking Mount.


The CTM utilizes three custom, direct-drive torque motors which provide 1500 foot-pounds of torque in the azimuth axis and 750 foot-pounds of torque in the elevation axis. This high level of torque is provided to maintain maximum dynamic tracking accuracy when the CTM is moved in close to the target and when high acceleration is required. It is also essential for maintaining consistent tracking performance with heavy or unbalanced payloads.        


All major structural members including the base casting, azimuth carriage, and instrumentation platforms are cast of high strength aluminum alloy.  The overall dimensions and weight of the CTM allow for air transportation in a C-130 and attachment hardware on the trailer is provided for lifting the system by crane or helicopter. Four motorized jacks, located at the extreme corners of the trailer, provide a wide footprint for a stable tracking base. The CTM is offered in both man-in-the-mount configuration and/or an unmanned remote control console configuration.




Missile Launch 

Ordnance Separation 

Target Interception 

Test Track 

Take-Off and Landing        





High Degree of Accuracy 

High Dynamics 

Versatile Payload 

Sidereal Rate Tracking 

Star Calibration   

Manned or Unmanned Operation 

Remote Control Capability

Target Simulation 

Diagnostic Software

Motorized or Manual Leveling Jacks

Top and Bottom Instrumentation Mounting Platforms (4)

Camera Boresighting, Alignment, and Loading from a Standing Position on the Ground 

Adjustable Platform Height Provides for Balancing      

Equipment Load

Unique Direct AZ-EL Torque Motor Design 

Inductosyn Encoders Up to 23 Bit Resolution

Optical Encoders Up to 20 Bit 

Small Enough to be Airlifted in a C-130 Aircraft

Parallax and Elevation Adjustments

Built-in, Selectable, Dual Power Sighting Scope (8, 15, or 24X) with Lighted Reticule

Dynamic Braking   

Open Sight Acquisition Aid with Lighted Reticule           




Digital and Film Cameras 

IR Cameras 

Tracking Video 

Acquisition Video 

Radar:  Tracking - Range 

Laser: Ranging         


 Available Imaging and Related Equipment                    


Photo-Sonics 35mm-4EL High-Speed Film Camera with Data Head and Digital Phase Lock Servo Control        

Photo-Sonics Auto-Focus Tables   

Photo-Sonics 100-inch and 48-inch Lenses       

Photo-Sonics Barlows for conversion of 100-inch lens to 120, 150, 180 and 200 inch      

Monochrome CCD camera, ruggedized, with 7" zoom lens (400-3000mm) for target tracking and stellar calibration

Color CCD camera and 3.25" zoom lens (50mm~700mm) for remote target acquisition 

Photo-Sonics DV1 High-Speed Digital Camera   

Infrared Imaging System   

Weibel Doppler Tracking Radar   

Laser Range Finder 


Control Electronics  


Dual Gate Video Tracker    

Global Positioning System (or IRIG-B) for timing and position

Photo-Sonics Film Data Recording System          

Video Data Recording System       

Optical Encoders    23 bit  

On-Board Computer systems (3): 15 slot VME in trailer, 5 slot VME in trunion and 19-inch

rack-mounted PC in the Remote Control Console         

Dual Bay Remote Control Console


Argus Software Components        


Comprehensive pre-flight preparation and calibration. Includes built-in tests.      

Real time TSPI input and output  

Nominal Trajectories          

Target Simulation   

Celestial Calibration designed specifically for an off-axis tracking system with sensors mounted on either side of the rotational axis for better than 5 arc-second accuracies        

Remote control capabilities from the Remote Control Console

Extensive Fault Detection  

Comprehensive Man-Machine Interface


Control Software — The ARGUS control software provides all the functionality the user would expect of an advanced TSPI tracking system. It provides a single interface for the tracking pedestal, sensors, auto-tracking, radar, calibration, target simulation and diagnostics of the complete tracking system. Control of the system is simplified via an intuitive touch screen GUI. The standard ARGUS application can control up to 10 sensor stations, in addition to radar and lasers, allowing a single-operator complete control of all aspects of a complex and highly capable system from a remote location. It also provides the control of single and dual-gate auto trackers and fixed focal length and zoom lenses and focus tables. Automated Star Calibration are incorporated to yield the highest TSPI accuracy of any optical tracking system manufactured today.


System Specifications


Size                            92"L x 82"W x 85.6"H  (plus 18" trailer tongue)

Weight                        Mount - 6,240 lbs. (no payload)

                                   Tongue Weight - 1,260 lbs.

Payload                      600 lbs. total with man in the mount; 900 lbs w/o man

Travel                         Azimuth - 600° total

                                  Elevation - 100° total

Torque                       Azimuth - 1x1500 ft. lbs. permanent magnet motor

                                  Elevation - 2x375 ft. lbs. permanent magnet motors

Acceleration              Azimuth - >2.5 radians per second per second

(with 600- pound       Elevation - >3.5 radians per second per second


Velocity                      Azimuth and Elevation - configurations available from sidereal to 1.75 radian per second

Dynamic Range        1000:1

Bandwidth                 Azimuth - 12 Hz

(with 600-pound        Elevation - 15 Hz


Non-orthogonality      <15 arc seconds

Bearing Wobble         < 6 arc seconds

Power Requirements  208VAC, 60 Hz, 3 phase

                                   Total peak power 7.5 KVA providing 1500 ft. lbs. azimuth torque and 750 ft.  

                                    pounds elevation torque

Road Clearance         12 inches

Roadability                  Highway - 55 mph

                                    Unimproved Roads - 35 mph




Auto Focus Table

Film Data Recording System

Remote Control

Video Data insertion

Tow Vehicle with Generator

Angular Data Display

Auto-tracker Integration

220VAC, 50 Hz, 3 Phase

Defense Products & Services: Compact Tracking Mount (CTM) by Photo-Sonics
Companies & Organizations: 
Defense Products & Services Sectors: Optical target tracking systems, ground-based
Description: Compact Tracking Mount (CTM)
Source of Information: Photo-Sonics Inc