Target Rotation and Aimpoint Correction using Enhanced Reconstruction (TRACER)
ABSTRACT: Laser weapon systems on tactical airborne platforms face many issues with tracking targets and pointing of the laser weapon. Even in an environment free from the effects of the atmosphere, there is still the issue of pointing the laser weapon to a specific hit point when there are no features in the required direction. Even if there are features in the desired hit point direction, it is likely that the effects of the laser weapon on the target will obscure this feature. Add in the effects target illumination (scintillation) and the problem is confounded even more. Tracking features in the target scene under these conditions is difficult because the apparent motion of the illumination is construed as motion of the tracked features. Even more difficult than tracking under these conditions is the process of estimating the target pose. MZA proposes to develop an aimpoint maintenance algorithm based on target rotation estimates from enhanced image reconstructions. We will develop this algorithm for operation in an airborne beam control and pointing system. The algorithm will be robust in that it will operate under active target illumination and while the target is changing pose. BENEFIT: Improved imaging and beam control techniques have broad applicability throughout the government and private sectors. We will be able to use the demonstrated robust aimpoint maintenance algorithm to revolutionize the way beam directors and imaging systems are designed for aircraft weapons support, thus broadening MZA's DoD customer base. Another ready application is laser communication from commercial or private aircraft to satellite or ground-based receivers or transmitters, facilitating robust broad-band communications that do not interfere with aircraft navigation systems. Without effective compensation of atmospheric and aero-optics disturbance, bit-error rates of such communication systems will be limited. The demonstration of aimpoint maintenance to be conducted in Phase I will serve as a breadboard prototype for a commercial laser system that could be used on military or civilian aircraft to reduce optical disturbances associated with laser communication to and from these platforms.
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MZA Associates Corporation
2021 Girard Blvd. SE Suite 150 Albuquerque, NM -
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