IR Sensors to Detect/Track Mortars and RPGs for 360° Light-Vehicle/Convoy Defense

Award Information
Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
2650 East Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena, CA, 91107
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Tom Bartolac
 (626) 792-3000
Business Contact
 Kevin Dinniene
Title: Controller
Phone: (626) 792-3000
Research Institution
Tanner Research proposes to develop and demonstrate the sensor component of a system to provide area defense for a convoy of light vehicles from mortars, and optionally, the sensor for another system to provide point defense for a light vehicle from incoming RPGs. Both sensor systems will have 360° coverage, and will provide real-time target information to cue a response that engages and defeats the munition in-flight. Both sensors use low-cost COTS imagers, to allow for wide deployment to all light vehicles in harm’s way. In this proposal we intentionally keep the technology R&D to a minimum, to ensure a rapid response to the pressing need in Iraq. We will validate our sensors’ mission performance with live fire testing. Next to IEDs and small arms fire, mortars and RPGs are the most lethal threats faced by US forces in Iraq ( Mortars are used against bases and convoys (in a one-shot strategy that makes knowing the launch point useless), and RPGs are fired at light vehicles (from short range that compresses the scenario timeline and challenges any active defense system). Radars can detect and track these munitions, but their cost and size limit their application to fixed installations and large, high-value vehicles. Their operation and maintenance requirements also limit their usefulness in Iraq. The cost and power demands of high-performance cooled IR sensors prevent their application to light vehicle and convoy defense. Uncooled LWIR sensors are low-cost and reliable, but until recently their sensitivity was insufficient for vehicle-based defense systems. Tanner Research will use COTS imagers, performance-enhanced by our sensor processing, to detect and track mortars and incoming RPGs, in low-cost and compact configurations that are practical for wide deployment to light vehicles. For area defense against mortars, we will integrate a COTS visible imager and hemispherical lens that detects the mortar launch flash, a COTS gimbaled uncooled LWIR imager that detects and tracks the mortar hotbody, and an FPGA-based processor that uses the flash detection to cue and control the pointing for the LWIR imager, and computes the mortar trajectory for hand-off to an active defense system that launches a counter-munition to engage and defeat the mortar. For point defense against incoming RPGs, we will integrate a COTS wide-FOV uncooled LWIR imager that detects the plume, with an FPGA-based processor that tracks the incoming RPG and computes time-to-hit for hand-off to an integrated CICM. We have been discussing with Picatinny the use of non-slewing airbag dispensers to intercept the RPG at ~1 m, providing adequate stand-off from the worst of its shaped-charge jet. The light vehicle would have several independent sensor/airbag units for continuous 360° protection.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government