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Passive Microwave Sensor Technology for Detection of Visible, Obscured, or…

Award Information

Department of Agriculture
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
3690 70th Avenue North Pinellas Park, FL -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Passive Microwave Sensor Technology for Detection of Visible, Obscured, or Subsurface Hotspots to Accurately Direct Precision Crew Response
Agency: USDA
Contract: 2002-33610-11770
Award Amount: $69,998.00


With record-breaking disastrous wildfires along with the human toll fighting them, no real-time technology is available to hot shots or heli-tanker suppression crews to easily detect and pinpoint water/retardant suppression on latent or lingering hot spots which are often obscured by dirt, smoke or dust. We propose to generate functional requirements of a microwave radiometer handheld sensor and airborne sensor, develop a brightness temperature radiative model to investigate the microwave thermal emission characteristics from below surface hot spots as a function of operation frequency, conduct outdoor radiometer measurements of burning materials to aid in validating the model, and develop a preliminary design for a handheld and/or microwave airborne sensor. Initially, we will leverage/use a CME/Raytheon developed passive microwave radiometer to conduct brightness temperature measurements of certain forest fuel sources to support the selection of an optimum detector frequency. Military-related microwave technology advancements enable the feasibility of developing small airborne, ground-based, and even handheld microwave sensors. Even in heavy smoke, a handheld, passive microwave sensor would allow hotshot supervisors to prioritize suppression crews to the most threatening sites. A helicopter-mounted sensor would allow pinpoint drop of their precious suppression cargo; and hot shot crews could easily detect sursurface roots still burning but hidden. Our team proposes a multi-pronged approach to significantly improve the performance and safety of wildfire suppression crews.

Principal Investigator:

David J. Arft

Business Contact:

Nancy P. Crews
Small Business Information at Submission:

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc.
2904 44th Avenue North St. Petersburg, FL 33714

EIN/Tax ID: 593406888
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No