Low Cost, Low SWAP Micro-LADAR for Guided Smart Submunitions
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Vescent Photonics, in collaboration with Aerius Photonics, proposes to develop a new generation of ultra-compact, ultra low power micro-ladar systems that will be suitable for a wide variety of military needs including: guided sub-munitions, missle interceptor seeker systems, active collision avoidance in space by multiple kill vehicle interceptors, UAV collision avoidance and range finding, and many more. These new devices are enabled by the combined development of revolutionary non-mechanical beamsteerers by Vescent, and VCSEL/VCSOA LADAR transceivers by Aerius Photonics. By combining these two new technologies we are replacing the two foremost impediments to ladar SWAP and cost reduction: the mechanical scanners and the high power lasers. The proposed micro-ladar seekers will be entirely electro-optic, the size of a matchbox, and able to scan an entire 80 Field Of View (FOV) in less than a millisecond with analog resolution. The purpose of this phase I is to prove the feasibility of this combination. BENEFIT: The ultra-compact steerable LADAR concept and hardware developed in this program has a wide range of relatively near-term and potentially low-cost military (tactical, theater and strategic) and other (surveillance/homeland security) applications. Tactical and surveillance adaptations would be the largest potential near-term markets. We believe that the ultra-compact steerable laser rangefinder approach could be readily and cost effectively adapted to fielding of compact laser radars, coded covert (free-space-optics) line-of-sight communications capabilities and serve as high-accuracy optical trackers for engaging tactical (rockets, mortars and artillery-RAM) targets; RAMs are currently major threats to the US and its allies in the context of theater and urban warfare. Outside of the military deployment, our ultra-compact SAA LADAR system can be instrumental in future Autonomous (Adaptive) Cruise Control systems for the automobile industry. Robotic, autonomous disaster zone LADAR mapping and navigation could also directly benefit from this development research effort. Ad-hoc free-space optical communication networks are also envisioned as another potential application.
Small Business Information at Submission:
4865 E. 41st Ave Denver, CO 80216
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