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Activity title

Multi-functional EO/IR sensors for counter-surveillance

Activity Reference

SET-266

Panel

Sensors & Electronics Technology

Security Classification

Other

Status

Planning

Activity type

RTG

Start date

2019

End date

2022

Keywords

Multifunction multimode multiband Electrooptic Infrared

Background

Multi-functional electro-optic systems with multiple wavebands and even active illumination are available to NATO nations but the current systems are bulky, expensive and constrained to operate on large platforms. In this collaborative task we will develop and assess novel technologies to combine active and passive imaging functions into compact systems suitable for dismount and small autonomous platforms by exploiting recent developments in sensors, lasers and optics. This task will build upon ET-098 which captured and shared knowledge on the wide range of benefits of multi-band sensors for operations in different domains, environments and weather conditions. The exploratory team identified a number of capabilities that could be advanced by a Research Task Group (RTG) on this topic including operations against difficult targets with variable background and clutter, the defeat of camouflage and the detection and recognition of glints and reflections from surveillance systems. The final report will deliver a shared understanding on the under-pinning technologies and summarize the conclusions from the trial and subsequent data analysis. The report will propose a technology road-map for the development of a compact multi-band/mode counter-surveillance system that can be exploited by dismounts or onto small UAVs. A successful project could be the subject of a subsequent cooperative demonstration of technology (CDT).

Objectives

The research task will review developments on multi-band sensor technologies, identify trends and routes towards compact broadband or multi-band (for example SWIR / MWIR) electro-optic sensors. The research task will review developments in ROIC technology and identify opportunities and limitations driven by the silicon read-out circuitry for multi-band and multi-mode (active and passive) sensors. The research task will form a shared understanding of developments in: • optical materials and design that can facilitate multi-band sensors, • laser technology to enable active illumination, 3D and gated imaging and reflection detection across multiple wavebands • processing techniques that extract maximum benefit from the close integration of multi-band/multi-mode sensors. The RTG will be focused towards an out-door trial conducted against camouflaged and concealed targets with supporting analysis and modelling carried-out to identify the most promising techniques and combinations.

Topics

Multi-band sensors such as MWIR/LWIR are beginning to be incorporated onto larger platforms to extend the operational envelope by providing improved atmospheric penetration coupled with greater resolution but many challenges remain for exploitation onto smaller platforms. In this area we aim to assess, test and trial current MWIR/LWIR sensors and integrate these with multi-band illumination (TRL 3 ? 5). New multi-band single-sensor combinations such as SWIR/MWIR and SWIR/LWIR that combine reflective and emissive bands have the potential to enhance the image contrast that’s available when operating against difficult targets. On this topic we aim to collaborate to develop new devices (sensors) and perform early assessment (TRL 1 ? 3) The combination of passive and gated or 3D active imaging modes into a single focal plane device has the potential to • provide capability against a range of different targets • operate under different weather conditions and • optically interrogate objects of interest to enhance target discrimination. In this area we aim to assess current SWIR band technologies including asynchronous laser detection and explore the opportunities to extend the functionality to longer wavelengths. (TRL 2?4) Compact multi-band laser technology (NIR/SWIR/MWIR/LWIR) is required to support the active interrogation modes of interest to the project. In this area the project will review and assess multi-band QCL technologies (MWIR/LWIR) and develop and demonstrate compact solid-state (NIR/SWIR/MWIR) lasers. (TRL 2?4) Compact multi-band optical materials and design solutions are required to fully exploit the emerging multi-band/multi-mode electro-optic and infrared sensor technologies. In this area we aim to develop a shared understanding of novel optical materials and develop a design (and possibly an implementation) that supports the multi-band sensor roadmap (TRL 3?5). Sensor processing that combines active and passive modes and/or automatically extracts the maximum contrast (multi-band LACE) are required to fully exploit the new sensor technology. In this project we will implement and assess image processing algorithms and apply these to the trials results. (TRL 3?5) Compact (but robust) laser beam scanning systems could be used to enhance the functionality of the envisaged imaging system. The project will review and if appropriate assess technologies to determine the maturity and potential of compact scanning technologies (TRL 1?3).

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