Multi-Sensor Automated Ship and Small Craft Classification Tools
This reseach addresses innovative techniques that will provide robust multi-sensor (infrared and radar) classification tools to assist the operator"s rapid and accurate classification of ships and small boats in the littoral. Radars employing Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) processing have been employed by the Navy in numerous radars for ships classification at ranges greater than 30 NM while imaging infrared (IR) systems classification ranges are nominally less than 5 NM. When within range and during clear weather, the IR system usually provides for more robust classification than the ISAR; however, the airborne platform must expend both time and fuel to get close enough to classify with the IR. To minimize this loss in time, platforms like the MH-60R and the future Fire Scout have radars onboard with ISAR capabilities to prescreen the contacts at long range before the decision is made to fly in for a closer examination with the IR. As these systems fly toward the potential threat vessel, the number of pixels on target increases in the IR system to the point where it can sense the vessels shape and motions even before it is within full classification ranges. This information can potentially be used to improve the ISAR"s classification capabilities even at these extended ranges. As the platform gets even closer the simultaneous obtained IR and ISAR can be fused together to provide the operator with additional information for making the critical decision whether to engage the threat vessel with weapons.
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