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Missile Seeker Automated Target Recognition using Artificial Intelligence

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-21-P-0347
Agency Tracking Number: FX203-CSO1-0640
Amount: $46,498.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF203-CSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.3
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-05-03
Small Business Information
12900 Brookprinter Place, Suite 800
Poway, CA 92064-1111
United States
DUNS: 107928806
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Brian Watson
 (858) 354-1148
Business Contact
 Margaret Latchman-Geller
Phone: (858) 373-2717
Research Institution

Emerging Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) are challenging current surface-to-air and air-to-air missile seeker capabilities. They are highly maneuverable and can sustain accelerations of 20 ‘Gs’ or more. Many are low observable and have active decoys as well as countermeasures (e.g., Russian Sukhoi S-70 and Chinese CH-7). The UAS flight envelopes can approach the performance of missiles so that there is less room for error in seeker performance. Swarms of UASs can overwhelm a defense system, especially when they are used in combination with decoys. Recently, the U.K. Royal AF demonstrated an autonomous swarm of unmanned aircraft with BriteCloud expendable active decoys. Also, AFRL is developing the Golden Horde Swarm program. For air-to-surface munitions, seekers face challenges that are just as imposing as swarms.  Seekers must maintain accuracy with Camouflage, Concealment and Deception (CCD) used to mask targets as well as a complicated environment due to clutter and confusers in the scene. Robust Automated Target Recognition (ATR) is essential for identifying friend vs. foe and a prerequisite for precision strikes against tactical targets. Missile seekers need improved signal processing capabilities to retain lethality against these new threats. We have outlined a processing approach that will drastically improve both the accuracy of airborne target identification and target lock in the presence of decoys and countermeasures as well as ground target identification. Our approach is designed to reduce seeker and weapon cost by streamlining the software development and enabling dynamic, real-time laboratory testing of representative scenarios. ISL’s innovative solution directly supports the National Defense Strategy by providing “…Joint Lethality in Contested Environments.” In addition, it addresses the Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan “…mix of capabilities to penetrate the highly contested environment as well as deliver effects from stand-off ranges offers a balanced approach to counter the A2/AD strategy.”

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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