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Activity title

Exploitation of Longwave Infrared Airborne Hyperspectral Data

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Sensors & Electronics Technology

Security Classification




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calibration, CBRNE threat detection, defense and security, longwave infrared hyperspectral data exploitation, Longwave infrared hyperspectral sensing, phenomenology of hyperspectral target detection


The proposed RTG is the follow-on of the SET-190 RTG on ‘Phenomenology and Exploitation of Thermal Hyperspectral Sensing’ (Jan .2013-Dec. 2015) which successfully completed its mandate of conducting an airborne hyperspectral data collection campaign (Pronghorn trial, August 2014). This field trial was unique in that for the first time all COTS airborne longwave hyperspectral sensors currently on the market were deployed at the same time, in addition to a state-of-the-art US government sensor (SEBASS). This data collection was supported by the deployment of an unprecedented array of ground-truth sensors. Several experiments representative of CBRNE/ IED threat scenarios were carried out to advance the understanding of the phenomenology of longwave infrared hyperspectral sensing. The Pronghorn dataset was shared among the participating nations at the last meeting of the SET-190/RTG-106 in June 2015 at FFI, Norway. The proposed RTG will focus on this dataset through a comparison of the exploitation methodologies and algorithms, evaluation of their detection/identification capability and the sharing of results and writing of joint recommendations on how hyperspectral technology will serve to address the detection of CBRNE/ IED threats. This endeavour is consistent with the NATO Long Term Capability Requirement (C-IED, Priorities for the RTB, 18 March 2010) and the NATO RTB Hard Problem (Defeat the CBRNE terrorist threat, Priorities for the RTB, 18 March 2010) in evaluating emerging technologies aimed at mitigating CBRNE/IED threats.


The focus of the proposed RTG will be to establish recommendations for the application of the hyperspectral remote sensing technology for CBRNE/ IED threat detection. Pooling resources will permit burden sharing among the nations in looking at the problem from a comprehensive and holistic manner and will result in recommendations of the best approaches for this problem set.


The collective dataset consists of experimental measurements that were performed in 2014 during the Pronghorn trial to address the following topics: • the geometrical effects of the target-sensor collection (BRDF modelling), the variability of the target signatures and their potential spectral contamination by close objects (adjacency/indirect illumination effects), change detection; • gas releases and spills detection by evaluating parameters such as their minimum detectable quantity and the ability to discriminate between overlapping spectral features; • the detection/identification of chemicals in water; • the detection of disturbed soil/buried objects and UXO; and • the rediscovery of moving vehicles. Nations will: • perform an analysis on the above dataset using their exploitation methodologies, algorithms, processing chains and metrics; • jointly compare and benchmark the exploitation results; • investigate possible synergies using the full infrared spectrum to improve target detection within the longwave spectral domain; • collaborate to provide recommendations on how to improve the hyperspectral exploitation capability in addressing the CBRNE/ IED threat; and recommend supplementary activities to further characterize and validate the current dataset.

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