3L (Lightweight, Low-Cost, Low-light) Focal Plane for Persistent Surveillance
ABSTRACT: The military value of infrared (IR)-based, wide-area-motion-imagery (WAMI) collected from airborne platforms cannot be overemphasized. The unique capabilities of UAVs have resulted in commanders becoming increasingly reliant on them to conduct day-to-day operations. The need to further improve the situational awareness of these high value assets has led to a number of advancements in increasing the field of view (FOV) and resolution of these systems. Following these advancements is a growing demand to provide the same WAMI capabilities for smaller UAVs by reducing the cost, size, weight, and power (SWaP) of the currently available solutions. Toyon in partnership with Aerius Photonics, proposes to address this need by leveraging recent advances in large-format hybrid (CMOS/InGaAs) focal plane arrays (FPAs) and composite focal plane array (CFPA) technology. By taking advantage of low light conditions such as encountered in night time urban environments Toyon"s solution can eliminate the need for cooled thermal imagers and instead rely on the light-weight and lower-cost solution offered by InGaAs FPAs to develop a low-cost, SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power) optimized, high resolution imaging system capable of providing wide area persistent imagery within the near infrared (NIR) to short wave infrared (SWIR) spectrum. BENEFIT: At the end of the Phase I effort Toyon will have developed a complete candidate design for an 18 Megapixel, NIR/SWIR (near infrared/shortwave infrared), wide-field-of-view (WFOV) imaging system. The design will be composed of three subsystems to include the lens system, the CFPA assembly, and the signal condition/processing/data transport electronics. The Phase II work will lead to the development of a prototype camera based on the design established within the Phase I effort. Such a system will enable smaller UAVs to provide IR-based, wide-area-motion-imagery that historically only larger UAVs have been able to provide. In addition to being deployed in Air Force tactical networks, the main commercial prospect is in the field of commercial surveillance.
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Toyon Research Corp.
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