Optical Aperture Synthesis for Airborne ISR Platforms

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56KGY-15-C-0019
Agency Tracking Number: A151-077-0221
Amount: $99,964.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2015
Solicitation Year: 2015
Solicitation Topic Code: A15-077
Solicitation Number: 2015.1
Small Business Information
2021 Girard Blvd. SE, Suite 150, Albuquerque, NM, 87106
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nicholas Miller
 (937) 684-4100
Business Contact
 Robert Praus
Phone: (505) 245-9970
Email: Contracts@mza.com
Research Institution
We propose to design an optical imaging system consisting of multiple transmit and receive apertures. This distributed aperture array can provide resolution capabilities similar to a large monolithic aperture without the associated volume, weight, and aircraft structural modifications. A key challenge of such a system is to accomplish the imaging function without requiring an elaborate optical relay system to bring all subaperture channels together on a single focal plane array. We propose a coherent heterodyne imaging scheme in which each of the subapertures measures the complex optical field. These field measurements can then be digitally combined to synthesize a high resolution image thereby removing the burden of physically matching subaperture optical paths to within a fraction of a wavelength and allowing for a modular design. In many tactical imaging scenarios, atmospheric turbulence limits the achievable resolution and the digital coherent image synthesis processing can compensate for atmospheric turbulence including anisoplanatic aberrations. This active system could increase platform standoff range and allow for nighttime operation. This effort will begin with an analysis of atmospheric paths and imaging geometries specific to Army airborne platforms. We will conduct wave-optics simulations to evaluate the performance of multiple array geometries under a variety of conditions.

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

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