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Retrofittable Tactical Head Up Display (RTHUD)


OBJECTIVE: Develop an affordable, lightweight, very low profile, low power, and extremely high lifetime HUD using state-of-the-art (SoA) low cost digital projection technologies that can be retrofitted into tactical aircraft. DESCRIPTION: The goal of this SBIR is to develop a competitive RTHUD design that will be extremely long lasting with a low life-cycle cost (LCC). The LCC is understood to include the total cost to procure, install, and maintain the RTHUD over the life of the air system. The threshold (objective) mean-time-between failure (MTBF) is 8,000 hrs (20,000 hrs). The threshold (objective) LCC is $150K ($75K). The design must contain a large wide area field-of-view (FOV) and require just 25% of the power, cooling, and volume consumed by SoA fielded HUDs. The RTHUD design should have novel volume and 3D shape features sufficient to enable affordable installation as a retrofit without extensive structural modification of the aircraft. The design should also enable installation in cockpit locations other than the traditional positioning within the forward field of view. The architecture should consider a solution approach that can be affordably installed by skilled artisans with minimal retrofit and/or assistance. The RTHUD solution shall be capable of being highly modular in nature and, thus, be able to very rapidly be installed to fielded jets with minimal rework. Design issues identified in MIL-HDBK-87213A (USAF) dated 8 Feb 2005,"DoD Handbook: Electronically / Optically Generated Airborne Displays,"should be addressed for the operational environment representative of a tactical combat aircraft. The developed RTHUD system must be utilized to display the desired level of tactical HUD detail to operators in order to perform safely control the aircraft without outside assistance such as other displays. Threshold performance shall provide the same level of information that SoA fielded HUDs currently present to pilots. A balanced six-dimensionial systems engineering design is required: space, weight, ergnomics, power, performance, and integration (SWEPPI) issues all must be addressed. The RTHUD design should support the traditional HUD augmented reality (AR) mode of operation in which see-thru symbology focused at virtual infinity is superimposed on the highly-variable real world scene beyond the canopy. The design should also enable the RTHUD to operate as a non-see-thru, synthetic vision system (SVS) mode at night, during low-illumination day conditions, or when cockpit view is closed off by curtains against laser/flash threats. Advanced digital component technologies, including efficient solid state light sources, ultra-high resolution microdisplays, multispectral adaptive fusion processors, and compact waveguide optics should be considered to develop a high luminance/contrast day, night vision system compatible, design. Traditional combiner and image relay optics must be integrated into a more compact form than in any currently fielded HUD: refractive/reflective optics as well as diffractive waveguide optics approaches are sought to provide a threshold (objective) FoV of 40-deg (60-deg). The light engine and processor should be capable of generating a threshold (objective) image resolution of 5 Mpx (12 Mpx) to provide 50-arcsec acuity with acceptably low latency at the design eyepoint for all symbology and imagery presented. PHASE I: The contractor shall perform a market technology sweep of current avionics HUDs, determine the ideal mix of SoA component technologies for incorporation in the RTHUD design proposed, present a complete system architecture of the envisioned solution to show each component will assist in achieving the capability desired, and perform a business case analysis of the proposed solution. PHASE II: The contractor shall finalize the architecture development from phase I, develop and produce at least one prototype comprising both the hardware and software system(s) for testing and evaluation, test the capability of the prototype(s) to a basic preliminary level of confidence, demonstrate that the developed system can be utilized to display the desired level of relevant RTHUD detail, and update the Phase I business case and provide an estimate of installation and sustainment costs. PHASE III: The contractor shall provide a preliminary plan of integration and conduct assessment cost feasibility to implement into target insertion point and complete bill of materials and team with an avionics integrator to identify and develop a safety of flight and full qualification plan. REFERENCES: 1. Digital (Solid-State) Head Up Display (HUD) Report, Insight Media (2009), . 2. Michael H. Kalmanash (Rockwell Collins),"Digital HUDs for tactical aircraft,"Proc. SPIE Vol. 6225, pages 62250L-1 to 62250L-8 (2006), . 3. Paul Wisely (BAE Systems),"Head up and head mounted display performance improvements through advanced techniques in the manipulation of light,"Proc. SPIE Vol. 7327, pages 732706-1 to 732707-10 (2009), . 4."Lockheed Martin Selects BAE Systems To Supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Helmet Display Solution,"Press Release (10 Oct 2011), . 5."Head-up display,"Wikipedia, Up Display.
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