The application of image processing and pattern recognition techniques to object identification and tracking at video rates is a problem of wide interest. Previous attempts have been limited to simple thresholding or correlations within a restricted window. New high-speed algorithms have been implemented using micropro-grammable (bit-slice) processors and specialized digital logic to produce an "intelligent" imaging tracker. Adaptive statistical clustering and projection based classification algorithms are applied in real time to identify and track objects that change in appearance through complex and nonstationary background/foreground situations. The system comprises four pipelined processors which, in turn, separate the target image from the background, locate and describe the target shape, establish an intelligent tracking strategy, and generate control signals which drive the telescope mount and optimize the size and orientation of the output image and the gain of the image tube.