Many developments have been made in FRANCE during the last few years in the fields of earth, observation, mapping. intelligence and mission planning.The first satellite of the SPOT family, dedicated to earth. observation, has been launched in February 1986, and it has proven to have important applications in intelligence and mission planning. New wilitary equipment and systems have the capability of using this data.
As newer and more sophisticated imagery collection systems rapidly increase the volume of imagery requiring thorough exploitation, the need for imagery analysts to acquire and maintain expertise increases accordingly. In response, Loral Systems Group (Arizona) has produced a computer-based-training (CBT) system that presents a series of lessons on radar imaging principles and their application to the various orders of battle. The training system is composed of two host computers, four student/instructor workstations, a printer, and lesson material. The computers control the imagery presentation, deliver twenty-eight interactive lessons of computer-assisted instruction, and generate reports. Each dual-screen workstation presents lessons consisting of instructional text coupled with representative imagery annotated with color graphics. Although the system is designed for the unique characteristics of radar interpretation, alternative courseware could instruct interpretation techniques for other imagery (photographic, electro-optical, infrared). Regardless of the sensor type and amount of available imagery, both commercial and military segments of the interpretation community will benefit only if the interpreter/analyst is successfully trained to translate image information into useful terms.
In October, 1984, the Space Shuttle Challenger carrying the Itek Large Format Camera took 2134 photographs of the Earth's land, oceans, and clouds. In this experiment, the precision cartographic large format camera was used to take vertical aerial photographs on a strip of film made up of four different emulsions. An exceptionally cloudy weather system in North America and Europe caused most of the primary photography sites to be obscured. Many photographs were therefore taken of secondary sites. The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service participated in this experiment by identifying many photographic test sites in the United States. When the mission was flown, most of the National Forests selected were obscured by clouds. The Forest Service is interested in the potential uses of the photography in resource management. To the extent possible, the photographs of the National Forests areas have been evaluated. The imagery is suitable for some management activities and is currently being used. During the evaluation, all imagery worldwide, was examined, and a list of potential uses was developed. With increased use, more applications will be developed.
The first time a caveman chief ordered one of his troops up a tree to get a better fix on the mastodon herd, airborne reconnaissance and surveillance, in a sense, was born. Every field commander since that caveman has asked the same basic questions: Where is the mastodon herd, what are its numbers and disposition, and what are its intentions? The answers to those questions have always formed the basis for all operational decisions and subsequent mission execution and the accuracy of the answers, has, until relatively recent times, largely determined the success or failure of a military operation.
J-This paper describes the development of advanced image understanding techniques which will be applied to existing real-time electro-optical imaging systems. The objective of this effort is to demonstrate the application of state-of-the-art parallel image processing systems to real time imagery understanding, thus enabling the time consuming low level processing functions to be accomplished in real time.
Four sets of 66-inch Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) have been used for extensive image measuring tests. The geographic coordinates of 206 ground control points have been repeatedly determined from the imagery and compared with the true locations as determined from topographic maps. A method of predicting the accuracy of LOROP-derived ground coordinates for other users is presented.
Northrop's Medium-Range, Remotely-Piloted-Vehicle (MRRPV) reconnaissance system is designed to provide today's tactical commanders with useful high-resolution imagery without risking lives or high-value assets. The system consists of remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), mission payloads, a mission control station (MCS), relay pod, launch and recovery equipment, and associated support equipment. Military requirements for the MRRPV system identified the need for an effective balance among performance, cost, supportability, availability, and the timely development and fielding of the system. This balance was achieved by conducting trade studies that evaluated the many options against the critical performance, cost, and operational requirements. The trade studies resulted in the selection of an optimal system; i.e., a system characterized by low recurring, life-cycle, and development costs; minimum development schedule; performance that meets or exceeds requirements; and maximum reliability, supportability, and availability. Specifically, these trade studies were conducted to define the following MRRPV system components:
The 11F-5E single cockpit tactical reconnaissance aircr;i.ft was designed in 1981 to carry a variety of low, medium, and high altitude sensor configurations mounted internally on interchangeable pallets. Recently,. Northrop has incorporated CAI's high resolution KS-147A LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photographic) camera into the aircraft to provide long-range standoff capability., Key features of the KS-147A camera include a 66-inch focal length, f/5.6 lens; closed loop autofocus; two axis, gyro-stabilized scan head, and a passive isolation mount to reduce aircraft motion inputs; a self-contained thermal system to stabilize temperature-sensitive optics; and all electronics required to control camera-to-aircraft interface functions. Key aircraft changes to accommodate the camera include a new three-sided camera bay lower door with side oblique windows, a new stronger camera-mounting pallet, a new cockpit forward control panel, new temperature control system ducts, new wire harnesses, and new side oblique sights., This paper addresses laboratory and flight test activities conducted on the KS-147A camera and the RF-5E aircraft. Included are development and qualification testing of the camera, preflight thermal conditioning. tests of the camera in the aircraft, and finally, a detailed discussion of the flight testing at Edwards AFB, and verification of the in-flight photo resolution requirement of 70 line pairs per mm.
This paper describes the integration of the Aeroflex Laboratories ARVG series stabilized tracking set, with commercial broadcast cameras and lenses. Originally designed for the United States Air Force AC-130 Spectre Gunship as the AJQ-24 Stabilized Tracking Set, the system as modified by Winged Vision, is currently used by the major television networks in airships, helicopters and ground vehicles. It is also used by commercial firms for survey and inspection and as an aerial test platform for prototype sensor systems.
Today's military environment requires timely and accurate information as the "situation unfolds." In the past, tactical aerial reconnaissance met this requirement using film-based camera systems in high-speed, dedicated reconnaissance aircraft. This method of gathering intelligence involves time lags which have been stretched to their limits. These delays occur in both the time required to perform the reconnaissance mission and the time required to process the information gathered. Additionally, dedicated reconnaissance aircraft and the chemical processing required for film cameras are not practical in a transient, tactical situation. A better method must be found to increase the efficiency of intelligence gathering. Developments in speed and electronics have given us the Charge Coupled Device (CCD), wider bandwidth recorders, improved data link systems and computer-based exploitation techniques. These developments are bringing us closer to a real-time capability. Prior to making a total commitment to this technology, a pilot program was initiated to test the validity of the concept. This paper discusses the system used to test the technological base for near real-time reconnaissance.
Reconnaissance, in particular visible-spectrum reconnaissance, is too often viewed exclusively in its military role. Dramatic advances in technology accompanying the evolution toward electro-optical imaging and the associated digital transmission, storage and display of visible-spectrum imagery argue that some fresh looks be taken at missions and applications. As a framework for developing some thought-provoking concepts, visible-spectrum reconnaissance is addressed in the context of supporting national objectives: military, political and economic. Examples of historical and postulated missions and applications provide a basis for developing an expanded dialogue and approach by the visible-spectrum reconnaissance community.
Long Range Standoff reconnaissance has historically been associated with strategic rather than tactical missions. Current Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) systems are typically relegated to the special mission category, and have not fully been considered as a part of tactical reconnaissance. The tactical reconnaissance equipment deployed today is operated either on an overflight mode or in fairly close proximity to the target area. Excellent imagery is obtained in both the visible and infrared bands, and the aspect angle between the target and sensor is necessary to meet many of the reconnaissance mission goals.
This paper addresses the benefits of cueing an electro-optical (EO) payload by employing communications signal direction finding techniques. By using signal collection, signal processing and direction finding techniques to cue an optical sensor, the efficiency of target location, detection and recognition missions is greatly increased. The paper analyzes the effectiveness of a system which is currently implemented on a small platform unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is highly effective in the VHF/UHF frequency range. The system is both low-cost and reliable, important considerations in modern airborne reconnaissance. The paper emphasizes the optical payload operational benefit in terms of flight, time versus target detection time with and without communication signal DF cueing. Typical mission scenarios are presented including the impact of short signal emission times (i.e. push-to-talk radios), signal types and DF sensor accuracy. Diagrams of the sensor will be shown and data collected during real and simulated flights will be used as input to a simulation model to predict a high efficiency of operation for a tactical optical reconnaissance mission.
As part of the ATARS program, Phase I, a reconnaissance pod system was flown to demonstrate the EO capability for manned tactical reconnaissance. Test flights were made at General Dynamics Fort Worth (GD/FW) and Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) between June and September 1986 using an F-16D aircraft. The GD/FW developed pod consisted of a Reconnaissance Interface Unit (RIU), KS-153 sensors, an RS-730 Infrared Line Scanner, a Video Management System, and a Data Link. The recce system command, control, and aircraft interfaces were performed by the RIU. The following describes the RIU's functions in this recce pod, the system integration and control problems encountered and the solutions provided by the RIU during integration and flight testing.
An advanced Image Sensor Module (ISM) has been designed, fabricated and tested at CAI, a Division of RECON/OPTICAL, INC. under internal R & D funding. This electronic assembly has been specifically designed for Electro-Optical (1E-0) imaging from very high-performance, Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) cameras. It includes the digital and analog electronics required to interface the CAI proprietary CAS-6254 detector to the rest of the E-O electronics in a real-time system. The ISM mounts as a Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) at the focal plane of either a pod-mounted or internally mounted camera. It is used as either a dedicated E-O or Shared Focal Plane (SFP) configuration. Principal features include remote programmability, modular electronics, thermal management via liquid cooling, and an athermal mechanical interface for focus alignment repeatability. Remote programmability of all required clocks and biases facilitates flightline alignment and calibration during preflight checkout. Built-In Testing (BIT) is used for failure detection and fault isolation. The principal design considerations, construction, performance and maintainability are discussed, and hardware photographs and performance data are presented.
The CAS-6254 is an advanced Charge Coupled Device (CCD) imaging detector optimized for real-time, Long-Range Oblique Photographic (LORON reconnaissance applications. It features I I - μm pixels, high saturation level, variable length Time Delay and Integrate (TDI) operation, high line rate, integrated support electronics and buttable ends. A previous SPE paper described the CAS-6254 CCD detector and reported its initial test results.' Further testing of this device as incorporated into a seven-chip Focal Plane Array (F-PA) has produced additional performance data. Laboratory tests were conducted on the FPA, not only to complement previous test data, but to prove detector performance under imaging conditions using the actual external drive electronics. CCD output was measured at increasing TDI levels to test for TDI I output linearity. Photoresponse uniformity was measured and Radiometric Correction (RC) coefficients were generated by computer. The percent nonuniformity was plotted as a function of temperature for a given set of RC coefficients. Real-time, variable TDI operation was tested and demonstrated with imagery using a computer and Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) in a control loop. Imaging across the butted ends of two CCDis in the FPA was performed to illustrate the integrity of mechanical butting. Another significant test involved imaging a low-contrast target and signal processing the detector video to observe the detector's contribution to the process of E-0 haze penetration. The test data are presented with photographs of a video tape of actual test imagery.
State of the art reconnaissance systems require and are "birthing" a new family of high data rate, high capacity, cassette magnetic tape recorder/reproducers. Standards delineating the requirements to guarantee the successful interchange of recorded tapes between recorders in different locations and of different manufacturers are being formulated. This paper considers these standards and their impact on the magnetic tape recorder/reproducers, and therefore on some aspects of the reconnaissance system.
Using atmospheric modulation transfer function area (MTFA) as a single-'valued numerical criterion for image quality propagated through the atmosphere, a statistical study of atmospheric imaging data accumulated over a three year period has led to the determination of regression coefficients with which to quantitatively predict effects of windspeed, air temperature, and relative humidity on image quality propagated through the atmosphere as a function of wavelength over the 400-1000 nm wavelength region. Utilization of this procedure is quite simple. One simply plugs in expected values for windspeed, air temperature, and relative humidity ii the regression coefficient expression for MTFA. The larger the expected MTFA, the better the expected image quality. Two sets of regression coefficient data have been obtained, one each for desert and non-desert climates, corresponding to summer and winter data here. Preliminary experimentation over a different line-of-sight indicates the accuracy of the model is fairly reliable.
New generation tactical air vehicles now in the planning stage are calling for high performance real-time Infra-red sensors with very wide fields of view combined with small size low weight and low cost. British Aerospace have addressed these requirements with the B.Ae. 4000, 2000 and 1000 Infrared linescanners. The first of these, the 4000, will enter Royal Air Force Service shortly in the Tornado Multi Role Aircraft. This paper describes these sensors together with some of the operational parameters which they are now called upon to meet for Service in the 1990s.
Stereophotogrammetry is, a useful technique that can be applied to many non-contact measuring tasks. Modern technology provides us with inexpensive, accurate equipment for stereo photogrammetric measurement, allowing use of the technique by people without special training at relatively low cost.