TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, Sensors
The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.
OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a multi-static Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) system that is capable of detecting buried explosive hazards from a standoff distance.
DESCRIPTION: Current standoff GPR systems operate in a mode that is essentially equivalent to monostatic. The transmit and receive antennas are located close to each other so the phenomenology of target and clutter responses are as if the same antenna was used for transmit and receive. This modality has shown to have some capability to detect buried explosive hazards at standoff, but the detection performance has not reached that of close-in systems. There is a desire to detect targets from a distance, and investigations are underway using additional modalities to improve performance. One possible way to do this is to try and increase the signal level received from targets. In most standoff GPR systems, the antennas are positioned with a relatively low grazing angle relative to the target, limiting the energy that can penetrate into the ground. Having antennas at different positions and/or orientations may help improve the signal level received from the target versus what is received from clutter. Another advantage that close-in, downward looking GPR systems have relative to standoff systems is that they have good 3-Dimensional resolution that allows them to separate the response from the surface from objects buried beneath it. Standoff systems typically only have resolution in 2 dimensions which causes the responses of targets and the ground to be combined. Novel multi-static orientations may allow for better resolution in 3 dimensions. The objective of this effort is to investigate and design a fully bi-static or multi-static GPR system to better learn about the phenomenology of the responses from targets and clutter and to find ways to better discriminate between the two. The desired system could consist of a ground vehicle, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or a combination of the two. A ground vehicle would need to operate at ranges of at least 15 meters from targets. Ground penetration of at least 15 cm and sufficient resolution are required. The system should be capable of detecting 80% of buried targets with a False Alarm Rate of 10 per linear km of road. The system may utilize any active transmitters inherent to itself, transmitters present in the ambient environment, or some combination of the two. Other sensing modalities could be used to extract higher resolution range information to enhance further processing
PHASE I: The goal of Phase I is to create multi-static radar design and supporting quantitative analysis with the objective of detecting buried explosive threats in cluttered environments. The offeror should model spatial antenna configurations for optimized signal to clutter performance. Simple lab experiments may be used to support the model as related to electromagnetic response strength of targets, soil, and clutter. The deliverable of Phase I will be a report that includes the results of the phenomenology study and a preliminary-design for proof-of-concept equipment.
PHASE II: The design created in Phase I will be expanded and used to produce a field setup (TRL 5). The equipment will be used to verify parameters of the model that affect detection performance. The phenomenology of the targets and clutter will be validated to support the proposed detection configuration. The deliverable will include an expanded model comparing detection performance for multiple configurations. Also deliverable are field equipment, data, and data analysis supporting the principle assumptions of the model and illustrating detection improvements over monostatic configurations.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The hardware design will be further refined and a technology demonstrator will be constructed for field use. The system developed under this effort will have high potential for other commercial applications for underground surveying and humanitarian demining, and other homeland security agencies.
KEYWORDS: Ground Penetrating Radar, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Compressed Sensing, Multi-static Radar, Bi-static Radar, Buried Explosive Hazard Detection