Early Launch Detection, Booster Typing, and Kill Assessment Sensor Concepts
Agency / Branch:
DOD / MDA
In recent years, as relevant technologies have advanced, there has been renewed interest at the Missile Defense Agency in Boost Phase Intercept (BPI). One of the key capabilities necessary for a viable BPI system is an Early Launch Detection & Tracking (ELDT) system. In order to provide enough time for an intercept to be made during its ascent phase, the target must be detected and characterized as a threat and its trajectory must be determined with high enough fidelity to accurately launch the interceptor missile. In our Phase I study, we analyzed trades on the critical parameters associated with our basic, "strawman," concept for a staring, wide field of view, multi-spectral sensor. This strawman concept was guided by our experience fielding and testing radiometers and imagers in the ultraviolet through IR spectral regions, processing and analyzing the data collected by these systems against ELDT targets, as well as by our analysis of simulations executed over a range of sensor types and advanced processing techniques. These simulations incorporated the results from phenomenological modeling of a range of threat types, backgrounds and viewing conditions. Our work during Phase I focused on selection of spectral bands that would enable high probability detection at low false alarm rates at cloud break and that would, furthermore, provide some capability for detection below cloud decks. In addition, during Phase I we leveraged other SciTec contracts to establish working relationships with personnel at national laboratories and within the defense industry who are working key technologies for ELDT - Technologies that we will leverage to develop an ELDT system concept during Phase II of our effort. Inherently scalable, a sensor of this type might be fielded on a series of different platforms - starting, perhaps, on the HALO-2 aircraft - and progressing to a space-based capability as the technology matures. As part of this effort, we considered costs and benefits associated with implementing state-of-the-art techniques, such as hyper-temporal collection and processing to provide clutter suppression against bright sunlit backgrounds, in an ELDT system. The objective of this Phase II research project is to formally define the requirements for an ELDT system, continue developing specifications for an ELDT sensor capable of meeting those requirements (essentially flowing down mission requirements to system specifications), building upon the results of our Phase I studies to mature the capabilities of ELDT components and to generate a prototype sensor design. Within the construct of MDA's Technical Readiness Levels, our Phase II activities will focus on executing the analyses and developing the software tools required for our ELDT sensor "system" to meet the TRL-3 criteria and on building a defendable plan for meeting the TRL-4 criteria. The modeling, simulation and data exploitation tools developed during our proposed Phase II study will potentially benefit both the DoD and the Defense Industry by formalizing the flow-down from requirements to system-level specifications and allowing innovative technology concepts to be evaluated prior to costly implementations. Our Phase II activities will depend upon extensive interactions with personnel within the larger MDA and space systems community in order to identify and define requirements, develop more comprehensive databases of target threats, coordinate additional test activities, verify performance of critical components to meet their requirements, and to determine how our ELDT sensor best fits within the larger MDA architecture.
Small Business Information at Submission:
James J. Lisowski
100 Wall Street Princeton, NJ 08540
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