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Aimpoint Maintenance of Ground Targets by Airborne Laser Systems


OBJECTIVE: Develop a robust algorithm for an airborne system that maintains precision pointing of a laser to an arbitrary point on a surface target that is changing pose. Transition algorithm into software with sufficient documentation and testing. DESCRIPTION: The military and law enforcement, for either suppression or surveillance, continue to have a need for laser systems on airborne platforms for the engagement of targets on the ground or water surface. For the optimal deposition of energy from a laser beam on an uncooperative target, a laser beam control system must accomplish three tasks: (1) precisely track the target (to within micro-radian precision, and accommodate a sample rate of ~4000Hz), (2) offset the laser pointing from the track line-of-sight to the desired aimpoint on the target, and then (3) maintain the laser beam on the desired aimpoint for the duration of the engagement. The term"aimpoint maintenance"refers to the accomplishment of tasks (2) and (3), and assumes that task (1) is already being accomplished by another algorithm. Although aimpoint maintenance is the subject of this SBIR, a single algorithm that accomplishes all three tasks is also welcome. For the purposes of this SBIR, assume that the target undergoes a relatively large change in aspect with respect to the line-of-sight of the beam control system. In this case, a fixed angular offset from the track algorithm line-of-sight is insufficient to precisely maintain the aimpoint. Also assume that the desired approach for aimpoint maintenance must minimize drift in the designation of the aimpoint during the engagement. Specifically, the desired precision goal, generically, would be to maintain the aimpoint on a target to within a drift that would permit fluence from the beam to accumulate in a very localized arbitrarily chosen spot on the targeted object. The smaller the drift, the better. In addition, assume that the aimpoint may not only be on the surface of the object, but may be within the object. Next, assume that the aimpoint may be on a featureless portion of the target. Last, assume that a model of the target is not available prior to acquisition by the laser system. The government is seeking SBIR proposals that hold promise for the development of a robust aimpoint maintenance approach that could potentially be implemented in a laser beam control system. The approach for aimpoint maintenance should be achievable in a reasonably practical beam control architecture. Approaches that are not specific to a particular target are preferred, but proposals that are target specific would also be accepted for consideration. PHASE I: Develop a robust algorithm that maintains the laser aimpoint on a target that is changing pose. The government will provide the required target scenes via a software module, which can be called by either MATLAB or C language, and run by Windows 32 or 64 bit versions. The scenes will include intensity artifacts due to scintillation (as a result of active illumination) and atmospheric turbulence. PHASE II: Transition the algorithm from Phase I into deliverable hardware with sufficient documentation and testing. To support government evaluation by simulation and field testing, integrate the hardware with a government track processor located at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. The H/W must communicate with GE Faunc reflective memory PCIE-5565PIORC-101000 and fit into a 4U rack-mount and consume no more than 400W electrical power on average. The government will provide further interface requirements. PHASE III: Couple the deliverable software/hardware tool from Phase II with a simulation model and a library of synthetic scenes to serve as a training tool by both military and law enforcement operators on aircraft. The object would be to mark or damage vehicles. REFERENCES: 1. Perram, G. P., Cusumano, S. J., Hengehold, R. L., and Fiorino, S. T.,"An Introduction to Laser Weapon Systems,"Directed Energy Professional Society, Lib of Congress: 2010929641, ISBN -13: 978-0-9793687-4-5, 2010. 2. Merritt, P.,"Beam Control for Laser Systems,"Directed Energy Professional Society, ISBN 978-0-9793687-2, 2011. 3. Hardy, John W.,"Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes,"Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509019-5, 1998. 4. Masten, Michael K., and Stockum, Larry A., editors,"Selected Papers on Precision Stabilization and tracking Systems for Acquisition, Pointing, and Control Applications,"SPIE Milestone Series, Volume MS 123, SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering, ISBN 0-8194-2259-2, 1996. 5. Blackman, S., and Popoli, R.,"Design and Analysis of Modern Tracking Systems,"ISBN-13: 978-1-58053-006-4, 1999.
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