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Wide-Field-of-View (WFOV) Multiwaveband Multimode Seeker Technology


OBJECTIVE: Develop wide-field-of-view multimode (non-gimbal) seeker concept with one mode being multi-waveband passive imaging IR and the second mode being semi-active laser (SAL). Sensor provides man-in-the-loop guidance with enhanced end-game engagement. DESCRIPTION: Current and future military operations, including difficult environments such as urban terrain, and the desire for controlled damage effects, require improved levels of situational awareness, responsiveness and weapon precision. Small (<50lb net weight) and agile munitions require precision guidance capability to maneuver in obstruction-rich and highly cluttered urban terrain for engagement of soft fixed and mobile targets. The loss/degradation of GPS and communications encountered in urban environments and intermittent line-of-sight to the target add additional guidance system challenges. Precision guidance is tightly coupled to lethality in that small weapons must achieve exceedingly small circular area probable (CEP) to accommodate small warheads. Hence the weapon may need to employ complex engagement geometries such as fly-over and shoot-down, or entering windows and small openings. The tactical nature of these small weapons makes man-in-the-loop operation desirable, to permit in-flight target designation updates using a human-operated laser designator while (or in lieu of, depending on the circumstances) the weapon autonomously guides to its target using the passive mode seeker sensor information. A multiwaveband seeker will enhance the probability of correctly identifying and tracking targets and discriminating from non-targets. In addition to providing high performance, the guidance subsystem must be small. The payload available on small weapons creates a challenging trade space for the size, weight, and power (SWaP) of each weapon subsystem. Solution concepts, including the seeker, the avionics processor, power and navigation system, should target the smallest SWaP possible but should not exceed 6in diameter, 5lb, and 50W power consumption. Seekers are of interest at two scales: less than 5 in diam, and less than 2.5 inch diameter. PHASE I: Identify innovative technologies for development and testing of low SWAP, WFOV multimode, multispectral seekers that will lead to meeting the described goals, with a SAL mode integral to the seeker design. Develop a conceptual design and analyze the performance and limitations of the technologies. PHASE II: Produce a system design and prototype of a seeker capable of both (1) autonomous closed loop guidance and flying autonomously, or (2) being controlled by a human-in-the-loop, designating a target. PHASE III: Commercial Application: Surveillance activities in law enforcement, search and rescue, border control, homeland security. Machine vision for manufacturing, robotics, or vehicle situational awareness/safety systems. REFERENCES: 1. US Patent 7,587,109 B1 (8 Sept 2009) Hybrid Fiber Coupled Artificial Compound Eye. 2. W.Shi, M. E. Couture,"Thermal and ghost reflection modeling for a 180 degree field of view long wave infrared lens,"Proceedings of SPIE vol 4198 (2001).
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