You are here

Advances in Infrared Target Scene Projection for Munition Testing


TECH FOCUS AREAS: Autonomy; Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning; General Warfighting Requirements (GWR) TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors; Electronics; Battlespace OBJECTIVE: Scene projectors are used in military test facilities to provide stimulus to seekers/sensors used by flight control and surveillance systems. The objective of this topic is to advance scene projection capabilities within government test facilities to achieve necessary accuracy and compatibility relative to advances in sensor technology requirements. DESCRIPTION: Current scene projection technologies, e.g., resistor arrays, infrared LEDs, and liquid crystal arrays, have significant limitations. Resistor arrays are limited in temperature achievable and manufacturability in large formats, LED arrays have yet to be demonstrated with adequate efficiency and calibration characteristics, and liquid crystal arrays have been prone to degradation and lack of image quality. TI DMD’s have also been used successfully in many applications, but there are inherent diffraction limits at longer wavelengths. Sensor technology is significantly outpacing projector technology in terms of pixel format and framerate, to the point that full field-of-view projector solutions may never catch up. In the future, hybrid scene injection/projection solutions or pure scene injection solutions may become necessary that are very application specific. Even then, high-quality IR projectors will still be required, but they will be used in either unconventional ways or primarily as a means of validating a scene injection sensor model. Alternative solutions are sought that effectively mitigate the limitations of current technology. Solutions that improve the efficiency of emitters, thermal management solutions that maintain a stable predictable pixel temperature, and calibration methods that achieve requisite calibration accuracy are of interest. Technologies that are realizable, cost-effectively, over a range of wavebands are desired. Infrared scene projection systems typically include analog interface electronics, digital control systems, and real-time scene generation computers. Advancement of projection technology also requires advancement of the associated system components. Solutions that advance or leverage existing proven capabilities to achieve robust solutions compatible with leading edge Air Force system requirements are desired. The result of the proposed effort should be a product with a direct transition path to multiple end use applications or facilities. The solutions prototyped and provided are expected to be compatible with typical use cases associated with munition hardware-in-the-loop testing. If a projector technology is proposed, there should not be outstanding characteristics that would limit use on the target gimbal of a flight motion simulator or in configurations necessary for multi-mode or multi-band scene simulation. It is also desired that the technology be compatible with cryogenic space simulation chamber implementations. If an enabling control system or scene generation solution is proposed, they should be modular and readily upgradeable to enhance longevity and flexibility. Projector technologies proposed should be targeted for 2048 x 2048 at 200 Hz, with an NEDT of approximately 50 mK at ambient conditions. PHASE I: Establish feasibility of the proposed solution. Perform sufficient modeling and experimentation to determine that high-risk components are attainable. Perform tradeoffs to establish a preliminary design leading for Phase II. Define a Phase II program plan. Identify and document endorsement from potential transition partners. Provide a thorough understanding of the solution to government in time to make a Phase II decision. PHASE II: Finalize design of a demonstration prototype. Procure, develop, and integrate the solution prototype. Plan and coordinate one or more demonstrations to provide proof of concept determination. Perform experiments and analyze results to establish the adequacy of the solution approach and minimize transition risk. Contact potential customers and establish a transition plan with partners supporting Phase III activities. Provide regular communication to the government sponsor to ensure understanding and risk mitigation. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate an integrated scene projection system for a specific application, including a functional projector control system and image generation capability. NOTE: The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the proposed tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the Announcement and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the Air Force SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Kris Croake, REFERENCES: 1. Greg Franks, Joe Laveigne, et al., “Development of an Ultra-High Temperature Infrared Scene Projector at Santa Barbara Infrared Inc.,” proc. SPIE 9452, 94520Wv (2015). 2. Rodney McGee, Fouad Kiamilev, et al., “512x512, 100Hz Mid-wave Infrared LED Scene Projector,” GOMAC Tech Conference, P-50 (2015) 3. 4. Beasley, D., Matt Bender, J. Crosby, T. Messer and D. Saylor. “Dynamic IR scene projector based upon the digital micromirror device.” SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing (2001)
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government