As you have no doubt gathered from Mr. Henkel's introduction, I have spent over 20 years of my Air Force career involved in the reconnaissance mission either as a tactical reconnaissance pilot, as a tactical reconnaissance inspector, as a writer and speaker on that subject while attending the Air Force Professional Military Education Schools, and currently as the Air Force's operational manager for reconnaissance aircraft. In all of those positions, I've been challenged many times over with what appeared, at first, to be insurmountable problems that upon closer examination weren't irresolvable after all. All of these problems pale, however, when viewed side-by-side with the one challenge that has faced me since I began my military career and, in fact, faces all of us as I talk with you today. That one challenge is the problem of timeliness. Better put: "Getting information to our customers firstest with the mostest." Together we must develop better platforms and sensors to cure this age-old "Achilles heel" in the reconnaissance cycle. Despite all of our best intentions, despite all of the emerging technologies that will be available, and despite all of the dollars that we've thrown at research and development, we in the reconnaissance business still haven't done a good job in this area. We must do better.
Advances in electronic technology have allowed the camera designer more latitude in choosing how each camera function is to be performed. This paper describes the CA-810 camera design, showing how modern technology allows the configuration of a camera to meet both high airborne performance and reliability. The CA-810 camera uses three 80-mm, f/2.0 lenses and two prisms to provide over 140° across the line of flight (XL0F) by 47° in the line of flight (1LOF) coverage. It is similar in general arrangement to the KA-63 camera produced by CAI in 1963. The CA-810 camera is capable of operation at cycle rates up to 12.6 frames's. Results of tests on the CA-810 camera are given, demonstrating the effectiveness of the use of modern technology in the design of a new low-altitude, high cycle rate camera.
Itek has recently completed a program to supply long range oblique photography (LOROP) cameras for a nose installation in an F-104 aircraft. The camera, designated PC-183B, is a derivative of a configuration presented at the June 1980, SPIE show and is described in Volume 242. The PC-183B camera features reflective optics, internal two-axis stabilization, and a unique air capstan.
A small millimeter wave (MMW) radiometer sensor has been developed that is adaptable to a wide variety of applications including low-altitude remote sensing for passive surveillance and target detection, navigation aid for aircraft, remote sensing from space platforms and precision terminal guidance and munitions. The radiometer is an environmentally hardened, 35 GHz total-power, periodically calibrated receiver with a measurement range of 0 to 500K and a sensitivity of less than 2K for an output bandwidth of 300 Hz. The basic unit without power supply and antenna has a volume of 20 cubic inches, weighs 1.6 lbs, and requires 7 watts dc power. This paper presents a brief overview of the fundamentals of microwave and MMW radiometry and a description of the advanced sensor, including laboratory test results on several units. Examples of airborne radiometric images are described.
Biocular viewers permit magnification of small areas without optical distortion and produce an image that can be viewed with both eyes. Current applications range from biocular viewing of driftsights, image intensifiers, or FLIR displays while in a moving vehicle, to quick scanning of reconnaissance imagery in ground based photointerpreter facilities. Other potential applications include allowing the use of space-saving devices available only in small formats, such as liquid crystal video displays. Advantages include absence of facial contact, no diopter adjustment necessary, operator may wear glasses incorporating astigmatic corrections, and wide angle viewing (45-degree field of view) to allow correct perspective presentation. The lack of distortion reduces eye fatigue and reduces the likelihood of nausea while viewing in an unstable environment. Distortion inherent in certain image intensifier tubes can be partially corrected with a biocular viewer.
The KA-102 is an in-flight selectable film or electro-optic (EU) visible reconnaissance camera with a real-time data link. The lens is a 66-in., f/4 refractor with a 4° field-of-view. The focal plane is a continuous line array of 10,240 COD elements that opera tes in the pushbroom mode. In the film mode, the camera use standard 5-in.-wide 3414 or 3412 film. The E0 imagery is transmitted up to 500 n.mi. to the ground station over a 75-Mbit/sec )(- band data link via a relay aircraft (see Figure 1). The camera may be controlled from the ground station via an uplink or from the cockpit control panel. The 8-ft-diameter ground tracking antenna is located on high ground and linked to the ground station via a 1-mile-long, two-way fiber optic system. In the ground station the imagery is calibrated and displayed in real time on three crt's. Selected imagery may be stored on disk and enhanced, analyzed, and annotated in near-real-time. The imagery may be enhanced and magnified in real time. Hardcopy frames may be made on 8 x 10-in. Polaroid, 35-1m film, or dry silver paper. All the received image and engineering data is recorded on a high-density tape recorder. The aircraft track is recorded on a map plotter. Ground support equipment (GSE), manuals, spares, and training are included in the system. Falcon 20 aircraft were modified on a subcontract to Dynelectron--Ft. Worth.
This paper discusses potential problems, as perceived by the author, associated with preserving Tactical Reconnaissance as an entity. Today's technology is rapidly approaching the point where the user will have the capability to conduct tactical reconnaissance on a near-real-time basis. When this occurs, it will be desirable to combine the reconnaissance mission with the strike mission, as the sensors involved can be used for both. Historically, reconnaissance has had to fight for its existence during peacetime. A combining of missions could result in less emphasis on reconnaissance, thereby further reducing its role in our defense posture, and stagnation of new sensor development.
In 1979, CAI began the development of the KS-146A 1676-mm (66-inch) focal length, f/5.6 frame camera system designed exclusively for long range oblique photographic (LOROP) missions. The goal was to produce a stabilized system tailored for use with relatively slow, but high-definition films such as EK 3412 and 3414 while also providing growth potential to an electro-optical (E-0) real-time sensor. A detailed design description of the system was presented during SPIE's 1981 symposium. Since then, six systems have been fabricated, evaluated and flight tested over a wide range of airborne conditions. All systems are now operational and the results obtained have confirmed that all objectives have been achieved. Airborne resolution of 8.5 prod (70 Ip/mm) has consistently been demonstrated at slant ranges exceeding 30 nmi. Modular construction and the flexibility inherent in the KS-I 46A design makes the conversion to an E-0 sensor straightforward, and the effort to expand the capabilities of the system have begun. Details of the camera development and a review of flight test results are presented. The modifications to convert the system to near real time are also discussed.
Film cameras in current inventory can provide a low-cost and effective means to introduce real-time imaging to reconnaissance and surveillance missions. A universal set of electro-optical (E-0) electronics in a camera back configuration is described as well as some system configuration concepts and considerations.
Effective enetrative low altitude tactical reconnaissance requires small, high. performance sensors backed up by flexible processing. Such systems require high quality information over a field of view wide enough to ensure that all targets are observed in order to justify mission risk. They should impose little or no penalty on aircraft performance or weapon, carrying capability and they must be supported by airborne and ground communication and processing systems to ensure rapid access to the information gained. An advanced Ili Linescan Sensor which satisfies these criteria in high speed, low level flight, currently under development at British. Aerospace, will be described. Features of the electro-optical and electronics systems will be discussed and the effects of scan geometry on imagery will be considered. Examples of imagery taken during flight trials with development models will be used to illustrate some of these effects. The essential features of an airborne image management, recording and display system using this Linescan Sensor, will be described. Information display formats and associated viewing ti es for real-time or near real-time infra-red imagery display will be analysed. Finally, the requirements for an associated airborne data link will be established.
An outline of the requirements for a modern reconnaissance system as fitted to a tactical strike aircraft is presented. Film based reconnaissance systems, as used in many existing installations, are discussed with emphasis on their failure to meet many of the requirements. Systems providing aircrew with immediate access to sensor data are discussed. Particular emphasis is given to the Panavia Tornado RMS 3000 system utilising video tape and cockpit imagery. A basic ground station which could be used with the RMS 3000 system is discussed, stressing the wide range of facilities provided. The paper concludes with some future possibilities for this type of system.
Reconnaissance Cameras are now controlled by real-time computer/microprocessor systems. The processor may control the camera stabilization and scanning, autofocus, exposure control and data annotation functions. Operator interface may be minimal with a simple control panel or quite extensive with sophisticated display/keypad subsystems. Target selection may be controlled by an operator or the camera may be automatically driven by the processor system using a predetermined mission profile updated by aircraft flight data.
A microprocessor is employed to determine the best exposure value based on scene statistics. Brightness data are obtained from a `look-ahead' linear CCD sensor, and scene statistics are computed and processed using an exposure control algorithm such that the exposure is set for the cultural information in the scene.
The ability to rapidly measure the focus of images acquired by optical systems is important in many imaging applications. Itek Optical Systems, building on its extensive wave-front sensing and adaptive optics capability, has developed an electro-optic focus sensor directly mounted to a Nikon Camera. The sensor operates by measuring the relative position of the image formed by two halves of the optical aperture. The measurement is performed using a scanning technique and a processing algorithm implemented by digital electronics. Details of the sensor design with results of its operation are presented.
An operational autofocus system, which directly senses deviations in back focal distance of the camera lens and restores the camera to a best-available focus, has been successfully employed in long focal length reconnaissance cameras. This microprocessor-based system entails the use of internal optical elements to dynamically measure and adjust the back focal length to continuously maintain a best focus position.
This paper describes camera flight tests and image evaluation for conventional cameras as they are carried out by the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV), The image evaluation method used is resolving power by use of three bar target. A. special square target (4x4 m) is also used to measure contrast ratio on the film with a microdensitometer. Hereby the target contrast on the image can be evaluated. Control of the development process has partly been simplified through evaluation of gamma by calculating the derivative of the D-Log E curve by the least square method. Results of contrast measurements are given from tests carried out in good weather con-ditions with a horizontal visibility of more than 30km. The measured contrast ratios and theoretical predicted values have been compared. The model used for this prediction of atmospheric contrast reduction is compiled from known literature. The comparison shows that the model used for the prediction was usable.
A subtle shift in procurement and design of test equipment has occurred over the past few years. The increased emphasis on readiness has elevated test equipment from its position of an expensive sole source afterthought to that of a partner in competitive systems acquisition. Technology developments have fostered a new type of versatile, low-cost test system that is portable and available. Proliferation of these systems offers the capability to automatically test virtually all electronic equipment while greatly reducing the work load and increasing the availability of the large test stations. The LM-230A, designed, developed and currently manufactured by TRICOR Systems, Inc. in conjunction with Zeiss Avionics Systems, is one of these systems.
The expected battlefield tactics of the 1980's and 1990's will be fluid and dynamic. If tactical reconnaissance is to meet this challenge, it must explore all ways of accelerating the flow of information through the reconnaissance cycle, from the moment a tasking request is received to the time the mission results are delivered to the requestor. In addition to near real-time dissemination of reconnaissance information, the mission planning phase needs to be more responsive to the rapidly changing battlefield scenario. By introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) via an expert system to the mission planning phase, repetitive and computational tasks can be more readily performed by the ground-based mission planning system, thereby permitting the aircrew to devote more of their time to target study. Transporting the flight plan, plus other mission data, to the aircraft is simple with the Fairchild Data Transfer Equipment (DTE). Aircrews are relieved of the tedious, error-prone, and time-consuming task of manually keying-in avionics initialization data. Post-flight retrieval of mission data via the DTE will permit follow-on aircrews, just starting their mission planning phase, to capitalize on current threat data collected by the returning aircrew. Maintenance data retrieved from the recently flown mission will speed-up the aircraft turn-around by providing near-real time fault detection/isolation. As future avionics systems demand more information, a need for a computer-controlled, smart data base or expert system on-board the aircraft will emerge.
Modeling infrared sensors, such as Infrared Linescanners and FLIRs, is important to air-borne reconnaissance, because it allows predic-tion of sensor performance during actual use. To date, considerable effort has been expended on modeling FLIR performance so as to include the CRT display and the observer in a real-time environment. Less effort has been directed toward modeling infrared linescanners in real-time situations where a CRT is used for onboard display. The traditional sensor figures of merit, such as MTF, NET, MRT and MRTD, are re-viewed as well as some of the most useful com-putational programs, such as the NV&EOL Static Performance Model (Ratches Model). These programs must be slightly modified to adapt them to the prediction of infrared line-scanner performance in real-time reconnaissance, and some simple adaptations are noted. Efforts to extend the modeling to predict performance when an automatic target screener is inserted between the sensor and the display or between the sensor and observer are briefly noted.
Increasing the spectral sensitization in the red region of an experimental coating of KODAK PANATOMIC-X AERECON II Film while suppressing the green region resulted in a film with greater atmospheric penetration, more effective signal/noise ratio, higher recorded target contrasts, and smaller filter factors, with no perceived or measurable image quality losses. Filters having higher excitation purity (saturation) can be used while maintaining the same exposure time.
United States Air Force tactical reconnaissance is, by design, a highly mobile and flex-ible force that can be applied in a variety of roles to produce time-sensitive information for the tactical user. The roles of conventional reconnaissance, tactical surveillance and integrated strike/reconnaissance have matured over the years in response to the needs of the tactical commander. The operation in Grenada provided a real test of those capabilities. It was to be a demonstration of those unique qualities of tactical reconnaissance that are not present in any other reconnaissance system. The Grenada operation was planned and executed swiftly and required all the supporting players to respond with equal speed. Planning and deployment by the tac recce forces occurred in less than 24 hours and, in fact, included a period of some 10-12 hours when the deployment had been scrubbed. Once alerted, aircraft were airborne within five hours and by 0900 the following day, had launched on their first operational sorties. The direct contribution of any one system in a complex scenario is often difficult to pin down since the information tends to lose its identify as it's passed along. Command, control and communication (C3) difficulties can mask the success of the operational mission itself but Grenada proved, or should we say reproved, several valuable lessons about tactical reconnaissance. Tac recce is quick, flexible and versatile in execution and provides a product individually unique to the tactical commander.
This paper describes a Reconnaissance Data Annotation System that incorporates off-the-shelf technology and system designs providing a high degree of adaptability and interoperability to satisfy future reconnaissance data requirements. The history of data annotation for reconnaissance is reviewed in order to provide the base from which future developments can be assessed and technical risks minimized. The system described will accommodate new developments in recording head assemblies and the incorporation of advanced cameras of both the film and electro-optical type. Use of microprocessor control and digital bus inter-face form the central design philosophy. For long range, high altitude, standoff missions, the Data Annotation System computes the projected latitude and longitude of central target position from aircraft position and attitude. This complements the use of longer ranges and high altitudes for reconnaissance missions.
Based on the work the Photo Interpreter (PI) must do, a comparison is made between the new KS-153 Tri-Lens tactical reconnaissance camera and the traditional alternatives. The work of the PI is defined broadly enough to include such peripheral activities as mission planning, mission evaluation, and the maintaining of an aerial film library. tncluded among the alternative cameras used for comparison are the short focal length framing camera, the split vertical camera fan, and the low altitude panoramic camera.
The MATRA aerial image recorders are used in aerial reconnaissance. In real time,on the ground,and remotely,they provide a representative film of the landscape overflown by an aircraft equipped with a shooting scanner (see figure 1).
Calculations are made of regression coefficients for relative humidity, air temperature, and windspeed, with respect to atmospheric contrasts in various wavelength bands over visible and near IR wavelengths as measured over a 3 year period. Significant changes are noted between summer and winter, including some sign changes and opposing wavelength dependences. Analysis of spatial frequency data indicates in the rainy season, when the atmosphere is freer of airborne soil-derived particulates, turbulence is dominant in limiting imaging resolution through the atmosphere, with wavelength dependence determined primarily by background and forward scattering effects associated with humidity. Resolution is best in the near infrared. However, in the dry season image quality is limited primarily by large airborne particulates and their effects on atmospheric background and spatial frequency-dependent multiple forward scattering phenomena. As a result, resolution is best at short wavelengths. The strong wavelength dependences on small and large radii aerosol related effects suggest the possibility of predicting imaging resolution spectral dependence in advance in accordance with meteorological predictions. Analysis of regression coefficients in the spatial frequency domain permits quantitative determination of effects of each meteorological parameter on each type of atmospheric MTF, i.e., background, aerosol, and turbulence MTF's separately. In this way insight is gained as to not only the extent to which each meteorological parameter effects imaging resolution, but also the mechanism of the effect.
This paper reviews the development of technology for optimizing the reproduction of aerial, medical and other photography by scanning-type photo printing systems, utilizing a cathode ray tube as light source. The basic method of controlling exposure level and detail contrast in a reproduction, by means of an unsharp luminous mask generated by a scanning printing light source, was devised several decades ago and has reached a high state of development. Central to the luminous mask concept is the principle that the image itself is not dissected and reconstructed as in a video imaging system. It is embodied in a variety of photographic devices: contact printers, strip printers, enlargers and reducers, for both black and white and color reproduction. Recent developments have resulted in more efficient operation of the cathode ray tube light source and made possible the exposure of relatively insensitive reproduction materials such as dry silver and duplicating films at rates which are significantly faster than previously possible. Automatic evaluation of exposure and contrast control requirements has been implemented in medical x-ray microfilming applications and is under development in aerial and industrial radiography systems.
Sensor technology, particularly in the area of airborne reconnaissance and surveillance, has been in constant evolution and improvement, putting more demands on data retrieval, display, and recording techniques. The attendant implementation of these newer sensor systems has increased the need for display instrumentation which is capable of handling higher data rates, provides higher resolution and yet can operate on-board in real time or at a semi-mobile ground processing station. For hard copy display of sensor data, attempts to utilize various low cost standard recording instruments has not met with good success. Very high resolution, high cost laser recorders have not been suitable either because of cost, size, and susceptibility to vibration in operating environments. An attempt to find middle ground in cost and still provide a unit that satisfies the above criteria has resulted in the design and development of a series of high resolution, fiber optic coupled CRT line scan recorders. Since the late 1960's, these instruments made by EDO Corporation/Western Division have received increased acceptance as a recording medium for a variety of applications, such as displays for airborne line scan infrared scanners, multi-spectral scanners, side-looking airborne radar, and synthetic aperture radar. EDO/Western Division recognized that while conventional CRT's lack the power of lasers, they are much more easily controlled, and when coupled with a highly efficient fiber-optic faceplate, it is possible for a CRT to transfer power to a photo sensitive surface at levels approaching that of a laser and with resolution capability almost as good as the most expensive laser recorders. This paper describes the features of these recorders, including capability, types of recording media used, and results achieved in various applications. The advantages and benefits of a fiber optic CRT recorder system, as applied to airborne reconnaissance and surveillance, are discussed, along with a future developmental outlook.