The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service completed a conceptual design study that defined an integrated forest fire detection and mapping system that will be based upon technology available in the 1990s. Potential system configuration options in emerging and advanced technologies related to the conceptual design were identified and recommended for inclusion as preferred system components. System component technologies identified for an end-to-end system include airborne mounted, thermal infrared (IR) linear array detectors, automatic onboard georeferencing and signal processing, geosynchronous satellite communications links, and advanced data integration and display. Potential system configuration options were developed and examined for possible inclusion in the preferred system configuration. The preferred system configuration will provide increased performance and be cost effective over the system currently in use. Forest fire management user requirements and the system component emerging technologies were the basis for the system configuration design. The conceptual design study defined the preferred system configuration that warrants continued refinement and development, examined economic aspects of the current and preferred system, and provided preliminary cost estimates for follow-on system prototype development.
•This paper discusses the Airborne Minefield Detection and Reconnaissance System (AMIDARS). AMIDARS is a state-of-the-art, infrared, wide-angle, line scan sensor, control/display system with a recording capability for use with Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAV's). Significant technical developments for AMIDARS include:
• Use of the Signal Processing In The Element (SPRITE) detector.
• Advanced signal processing methods for near zero signature image quality.
• Precision-controlled, three-axis stabilization for rigorous geometric image fidelity under adverse conditions.
•Completely automated operation and Built-In Test (BIT) through the use of three embedded microcontrollers.
Current development status is discussed and potential applications for the system are addressed.
Recent sensor control development systems, designed for demonstration of Electro Optics (EO) Systems, have required similar control signals as those required for film sensors. From this similarity of interface controls and functions (along with cost considerations) comes the realization that reconnaissance systems of the future must evolve in a modular fashion to produce the level of sophistication, or complexity, required for each specific mission. Fairchild Communications & Electronics Company has developed an AN/ASQ-197, Sensor Control/Data Display Set (SC/DDS) to control sensors and annotate film in the F/A-18(R) Reconnaissance System. The AN/ASQ-197, with its programmability, is the basic building block of this hybrid system of the future, for film and/or EO. This paper presents some of the considerations and features of such a system.
Advances in sophisticated algorithms and parallel VLSI processing have resulted in the capability for near real-time transmission of television pictures (optical and FLIR) via existing telephone lines, tactical radios, and military satellite channels. Concepts have been field demonstrated with production ready engineering development models using transform compression techniques. Preliminary design has been completed for packaging an existing command post version into a 20 pound 1/2 ATR enclosure for use on jeeps, backpacks, RPVs, helicopters, and reconnaissance aircraft. The system will also have a built-in error correction code 2 (ECC) unit, allowing operation via communicatons media exhibiting a bit error rate of 1 X 10-or better. In the past several years, two nearly simultaneous developments show promise of allowing the breakthrough needed to give the operational commander a practical means for obtaining pictorial information from the battlefield. And, he can obtain this information in near real time using available communications channels--his long sought after pictorial force multiplier: • High speed digital integrated circuitry that is affordable, and • An understanding of the practical applications of information theory. High speed digital integrated circuits allow an analog television picture to be nearly instantaneously converted to a digital serial bit stream so that it can be transmitted as rapidly or slowly as desired, depending on the available transmission channel bandwidth. Perhaps more importantly, digitizing the picture allows it to be stored and processed in a number of ways. Most typically, processing is performed to reduce the amount of data that must be transmitted, while still maintaining maximum picture quality. Reducing the amount of data that must be transmitted is important since it allows a narrower bandwidth in the scarce frequency spectrum to be used for transmission of pictures, or if only a narrow bandwidth is available, it takes less time for the picture to be transmitted. This process of reducing the amount of data that must be transmitted to represent a picture is called compression, truncation, or most typically, video compression. Keep in mind that the pictures you see on your home TV are nothing more than a series of still pictures displayed at a rate of 30 frames per second. If you grabbed one of those frames, digitized it, stored it in memory, and then transmitted it at the most rapid rate the bandwidth of your communications channel would allow, you would be using the so-called slow scan techniques.
New electro-optical (E-0) systems are currently being developed for tactical reconnaissance. To ensure that these systems can be developed within budget, it is essential that operational and technical requirements be developed together. This paper is an attempt at defining technical capabilities and costs in terms of operational requirements.
The management of collection resources is a significant part of the total recon-naissance cycle. Collection management must seek to achieve the maximum return from its available sensors and platforms while attempting to satisfy the growing number of intelligence collection requirements which will occur in a battlefield situation.
Since the invention of the film camera system, airborne reconnaissance missions to support tactical operations have basically consisted of an over flight of the suspect territory, the taking of a picture or snapshot of that territory, and the safe return of the aircraft. Immediately after landing the film is retrieved from the aircraft and rushed off to the labs for development. When these pictures are ready they are given to interpreters who analyze the results. All of this is to allow military commanders to make tactical command decisions.
The definition of recording for "near real time reconnaissance" applications is reviewed along with the requirements for a recorder to be used in this application. Next the storage medium (magnetic tape) and its importance is discussed. Following this, the recording technologies available to achieve the required results are presented. Both longitudinal fixed head and helical scan rotary head technologies are considered along with some of their merits and demerits. Finally, a brief look into the future of this storage technology is presented.
An IRIG code/video signal synchronizer has been developed that generates EIA RS 170/RS170A/RS330 and NTSC compatible video synchronizing signals that are directly referenced to an input standard IRIG Type A or B modulated serial time code. When an IRIG modulated serial time code is introduced into the synchronizer, detection of the beginning of a time code frame initiates generation of the first field in the first frame (00) in the output video signal. The video synchronizing signals are phase locked to the input time code modulated carrier. A very stable crystal controlled oscillator time base in the synchronizer insures that the phase lock loop is jitter free and video signal output continues even if the input time code is removed. The output composite video synchronizing signal is able to synchronize the operation of different video signal sources and directly reference their video output signals to the available IRIG modulated serial time code.
Near Real-Time Reconnaissance is limited by the capacity of the operator and data-rate of the recording and/or transmission systems. This paper concerns the data-rate problem, but some methods of reducing the operator work-load, made possible by high image compression ratio, will be presented briefly. There is a tremendous amount of papers on image transform coding available, so we will concentrate on the special problems of the airborne reconnaissance application, and the trade-offs that has to be introduced when very high data-rate and image quality are demanded. For basic details on transform coding please refer to references 1 and 2.
The application of optical sensors (photographic, electro-optic, and infrared) to the tactical military reconnaissance scenario is increasing both in number and performance expectations. The resolution and collection rate capabilities of these optical sensors lead to massive amounts of raw data requiring reduction and interpretation. Exploitation of the collected information must be accomplished in near-real-time (immediate to several minutes) to fully realize the sensor's potential in the tactical operating environment. Exploitation delayed hours from collection becomes useless at best and misinformation at worst. Herein, the first objective is to approximately quantify the existing capabilities for data collection, recording, and transmission, both in rate and volume. The second objective is to suggest several means whereby preprocessing may reduce the volume of data without influencing the substantive information. The third objective is to suggest means whereby the sensor utilization is more selective, thereby providing a better focus of the collection process.
The design of the datalink for real-time electro-optical reconnaissance systems is a function of many system variables with many conflicting requirements. The datalink design must consider cost and frequency management issues. Sensor data rate has a particularly strong impact on a number of key design parameters. As the data rate increases, RF bandwidth increases forcing the datalink to operate at higher carrier frequencies. With a fixed RF bandwidth constraint, the higher rate decreases anti-jam processing margin, increases cost and generally increases system complexity. With data compression, the bandwidth can be decreased at the expense of an increasing sensitivity to datalink errors. In this paper, the sensitivity of the datalink design to a number of the most important design requirements is examined with particular attention paid to the datalink cost and frequency management issues.
Today's political environment has seen an increasing effort for deficit reduction resulting in defense budget cuts and decreased spending. Military capability is difficult to maintain under these circumstances unless innovation offers a low-cost alternative. One critical military capability is the ability to collect intelligence data efficiently. Tactical aerial reconnaissance its a large part of this capability. The aerial reconnaissance process usually involves dedicated aircraft with a single mission. The aircraft used for this mission are specially outfitted versions of fighter aircraft with avionics modified for the reconnaissance task. The luxury of such aircraft appears to be a thing of the past. This can be seen by recent attempts to designate a next-generation reconnaissance aircraft without success. Stopgap measures have been offered which consist of updating existing reconnaissance aircraft with new sensors and improved avionics. Upgrades definitely have their place, but do not take advantage of the multirole capabilities of modern tactical aircraft. Tactical aircraft avionics suites afford options not found in older aircraft, plus improved maintenance aspects of such systems. One method of overcoming aircraft generation gaps is to include a reconnaissance option in the form of a pod. The reconnaissance pod is not a new concept, but one which may have "found its time." The reconnaissance pod outfitted with modern sensors offers versatility, survivability and economy while reducing logistics, maintenance and training. This paper discusses a pod and sensor suite flight test program performed to verify the design features of the aerial reconnaissance pod.
The GREEN BARON pod is designed and developed specifically for penetrating reconnaissance and for reconnaissance up to medium distance. An Infra Red Line Scanner (IRLS) in combination with a panoramic camera are the main short range sensors, the IRLS as an allweather sensor and the panoramic camera to get horizon to horizon coverage and stereo interpretation. For reconnaissance up to medium distance our choice was a camera with 12 inch focal length. This focal length gives moderate focusing problems when operating over a wide distance range. Influence on performance caused by environment is easier to deal with compared to operating a camera with longer focal length. This paper concentrates on the reasons for choosing a focal length of 12 inch for the pod.
Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) has been investigated briefly as a means of collecting quantitative data about very distant scenes. Two measuring aspects are discussed: first, producing dimensional data about the sizes and heights of man-made objects, and, secondly, measuring the geographic location of an object. This latter task is rather new for the photo intelligence specialist, who in the past generally did not have available these photogrammetric capabilities. We show in this contribution that at stand-off distances of 130 kms (80 miles), a position can be routinely measured with an accuracy better than ±10 m, in less than 15 minutes.
A scanning 3-mm radiometer system has been built and used on a helicopter to produce moderate resolution (0.5°) images of the ground. This mm-wave sensor can be used for a variety of remote sensing applications, and produces images through clouds, smoke, and dust when visual and IR sensors are not usable. The system will be described, and imaging results presented.
Through several series of demonstration flights, all recorded on magnetic tape, a wide range of electro-optical camera capabilities has been displayed. Significant insight has been made possible relative to the attributes, as well as difficiencies, of tactical EO technology.
High-resolution reconnaissance imagery is much higher in resolution and bandwidth than can be displayed on CRT monitors. There are many requirements for using CRT monitors as image display devices. Image reduction must occur to display the full field of view, high-resolution image on a CRT. Two-dimensional arithmetic averaging is preferred over pixel subsampling as the reduction method. A sensor evaluation system is presented which performs averaging, and results from the KS-87 Electro-Optical (E-0) camera are shown.
Increasing the spectral sensitization in the red region of KODAK PANATOMIC-X AERECON II Film 3412 (ESTAR Thin Base) while suppressing the green region results 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.
Use of solid-state detectors in systems to supplant photo-graphic film-based sensors is described. Bandwidth limitations are shown to bound the collection capabilities of the new class of sensor. System trades are discussed, and a candidate type of low-altitude reconnaissance system described.
An advanced charged coupled device (CCD) reconnaissance detector has been designed, fabricated and integrated into several focal plane array (FPA) configurations. ICAS-625 4 is optimized for real-time, long-range, oblique reconnaissance (LOROP) applications. Its features include a small pixel size, high saturation level, variable length time delay and integrate (TDI) operation, high line rate, integrated support electronics and buttable ends. The device offers improvements to currently available devices by virtue of its 11- μ m pixel size, burst ripple TDI operation and eight selectable TDI lengths between I and 64. The 24-mm chip has buttable ends to facilitate the fabrication of long FPA's with less than 3 missing pixels across each gap. The design criteria, architecture, fabrication details and performance are presented along with sample imagery taken by the device.
Turbulence, atmospheric background, and aerosol forward scattering MTFs are presented and analyzed with regard to both low elevation rpv and high elevation reconnaissance applications. Turbulence is seen to limit image quality only at very high spatial frequencies where degradation effects are likely to take place anyway as a result of vibrational and diffraction effects. Background and aerosol MTFs limit low spatial frequency contrast as well. However, this can be overcome somewhat by proper selection of imaging wavelength. This analysis can aid in sensor selection for system design from the standpoints of both wavelength selection and sensor resolution.
I am sure that most of you are acquainted with the significant advantages electro-optical (E-0) systems have over film systems in the tactical environment, such as the lower light level requirements for operations, and the haze penetration capability, but I would like to focus your attention toward other characteristics that are equally as important in contributing to the real-time revolution in reconnaissance. After many flights and hours and hours of digitally recorded imagery taken across the spectrum a tactical reconnaissance operational scenario, one discovers additional attributes to the digital electro-optical imaging system.
In most of the existing reconnaissance systems, the film is used as a storage medium. But more and more the photointerpreter processes the film information with the help of digital image displays. As the sensors are more and more digital or at least electronic, the film appears to be just an intermediate step, with many shortcomings. Going into completely digital systems seen to be very promising, but not very easy to do right now in respect to some operational needs.
Airborne reconnaissance must move to a real-time capability in the late 1980's and 1990's. Airborne reconnaissance missions will use a variety of sensors including radar, E-0, IR linescanners and FLIRS, which all generate very high data rates. This is particularly true of IR linescan sensors that are used for wide angle viewing in the low level penetration reconnaissance mis-sions. It is clear that machine aided data management is needed for optimum use of all the on-board sensors. The data manage-ment system (DMS) must be capable of adapting to the various sensors so as to manage the collection, processing, recording, airborne display, and radio transmission of the required target data. A very important data processing task is automatic target screening so that data flow can be reduced to feature only those frames that contain candidate targets. This paper briefly reviews Honeywell progress and capabilities in the development and production of Data Management Systems, Data Recording, and Auto-matic 'Parget Cuers. The semiconductor technology being applied by Honeywell to the DMS and autocuer circuitry is also briefly reviewed. The necessary advanced fabrication technology is all available at Honeywell's Signal Processing Technologies Center and includes VLSI and VHSIC Phase II implementations of dense high speed image processing chips. CMOS, Bipolar Enhanced MOS (BEMOS), Digital Bipolar, and Linear Bipolar designs in both silicon and GaAs are used as appropriate. Progress on the algorithms needed to operate the DMS and autocuer hardware is also noted. Laboratory demonstrations of some hardware and algorithms have been done in 1986. Further development in all areas is underway for 1987 and 1988 demonstrations.
This afternoon's panel discussion will address near real time imagery and intelligence--how will we do it? Our moderator is Arthur Andraitis, a consultant in intelligence reconnaissance systems and international marketing. He was commissioned in the United States Air Force out of the University of Idaho, and entered the Air Force in 1955 where he became an Image Intelligence Officer serving in a variety of intelligence and reconnaisance related assignments, including two tours each in Asia and Europe supporting tactical theater and national level operations. He also suffered through two Pentagon tours--one as Branch Chief of the Imagery Branch for the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence. He was the U. S. National Coordinator for two NATO intelligence and reconnaissance panels, and served several assignments in support of special operations, which included a year with the special forces in Viet Nam where he flew many missions in L-19s, 01 and assault helicopters. He has been an advisor on intelligence and reconnaissance matters to several foreign countries. In 1978 he retired from the United States Air Force, went to work for Itek, and then became an independent consultant in intelligence and reconaissance systems. I would like to introduce Art Andraitis.