Traditionally, the standard RS-170 format video camera has found limited application in airborne platforms. It has
shown limited performance due to various factors encountered in this environment. Video camera applications in the
scientific community have created camera configurations which are quite different from the standard video camera. The
scientific applications require shorter integration periods, high sensitivity and narrow-band spectral response.
Combinations of these needs have created specialized video cameras which negate some of the adverse factors of
airborne video camera application and produce unique imagery well beyond the standard camera capability. This paper
will explore the airborne environment and the application of the specialized video cameras.
Zeiss, in cooperation with Niletus, have developed an airborne
Data Recording and Control System using high resolution reconnaissance
cameras combined with video tape recording. Sensors are
installed in a Dornier DO-228 aircraft for special earth survey
missions which provide forest damage assessment in mountainous
regions. Sensors include KS-153A wide angle- and telelens camera
configurations. A laser distance meter provides autofocus
capability for the telelens camera. Flight and mission data are
recorded on film and video for cross-reference purposes during
photo-interpretation. Special photogrammetric interpretation
equipment then produces detailed maps used to direct corrective
Recent developments in the transition from film to electro-optics in airborne reconnaissance have
created a unique disparity between modem imaging sensor capabilities and those of the associated data
recording hardware. Not only is high data rate digital recorder technology several steps behind that of sensors,
as it does become available, it promises to be, at first, both large and expensive. In an effort to counteract
serious setbacks in airborne reconnaissance systems development and short term deployment, an analog
recording alternative deserves close attention. This paper describes a small format high bandwidth analog
cassette recorder, HIBAR, currently being proposed to address this problem. Also described is such a
recorder's role in today's chzinging threat and budget environments. Design goals are also provided.
Traditionally, aerial reconnaissance technology in the United States
has been developed by government agencies and their contractors. More
recently, however, it is the consumer entertainment industry that is
providing the technology base for many of the reconnaissance needs. The present and future impact of these consumer entertainment products and developments on aerial reconnaissance are considered.
The measurement or estimation of the resolution (usually tribar) of an Electro-Optical (E-O) system is
complicated primarily by two effects: 1) The phase of the periodic detector array relative to the periodic target bar spacing produces a moire effect in
which the target can appear stronger and weaker.
2) The electronic signal is enhanced in some manner thereby precluding contrast as a limiter of resolution.
The algorithm described in this paper avoids the phase problem by using only the continuous part of the
generated noise, and avoids the contrast problem by using the signal-to-noise ratio as the resolution determining
criterium. The acceptance spectrum of the human eye is used to define both signal and noise. A typical system
with variable parameters is analyzed; the results indicate there are practical limits to the quality required of system
This paper provides an informational description of an imagery interoperability
architecture, being reviewed for implementation by the Office of the Secretary of
Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (OSD/CI). The
architecture furnishes the means for interoperability among digital electronic
imagery reconnaissance assets of the United States and its allies. It identifies
programs designed to establish interoperability through standards, formats, and
limited hardware and software development. These programs rely upon the unique
properties of digital electronics used in new "softcopy" sensor and exploitation
systems as they replace traditional film based systems.
This paper was condensed from the Rome Air Developqent Center (RADC) report,
"Architecture for Electronic Imagery Interoperability."
Thi8 paper describes selected results of airborne, radiometric imaging
measurements at 90 GHz and 140 GHz relevant for the application in reconnaissance.
Using a temperature resolution below 0.5 K and an angular resolution of about 1 degree
high quality images show the capability of discriminating between many brightness
temperature classes within our natural environment and man-made objects. Measurement
examples are given for cloud and fog penetration at 90 GHz, for the detection
of vehicles on roads, and for the detection and classification of airports and airplanes.
The application of different contour enhancement methods (Marr-Hildreth and
Canny) shows the possibility of extracting lines and shapes precisely in order to
improve automatic target recognition. The registration of the passive images with
corresponding X-band synthetic aperture images from the same area is carried out and
the high degree of correlation is dicussed.
The Reconfigurable Mobile System (RMS) is a highly mobile data-processing unit for military users requiring real-time access to data gathered by airborne (and other) reconnaissance data. RMS combines high-performance computation and image processing workstations with resources for command/control/communications in a single, lightweight shelter. RMS is composed of off-the-shelf components, and is easily reconfigurable to land-vehicle or shipboard versions. Mission planning, which involves an airborne sensor platform's sensor coverage, considered aircraft/sensor capabilities in conjunction with weather, terrain, and threat scenarios. RMS's man-machine interface concept facilitates user familiarization and features iron-based function selection and windowing.
After establishing a working-base image of given pixel-resolution and digitization, in conjunction with a calibration transform, the present method for image-processing based reconnaissance system performance evaluation gives attention to scaling, atmospheric, and MTF factors. The 'kernel spread-point definition', which is a weighted map of the redistribution of energy from a point object, is used to emulate lens-diffraction limitations, linear image motion, and simusoidal or random vibration. Recognition and identification criteria can be evaluated by simply looking at targets.
Dye diffusion technology has made a recent entry into the hardcopy printer arena
making it now possible to achieve near-photographic quality images from digital raster
image data. Whereas the majority of low cost printers utilizing ink-jet, thermal wax, or dotmatrix
technologies advertise high resolution printheads, the restrictions which dithering
algorithms apply to these inherently binary printing systems force them to sacrifice
spatial resolution capability for tone scale reproduction. Dye diffusion technology allows a
fully continuous range of density at each pixel location thus preserving the full spatial
resolution capability of the printhead; spatial resolution is not sacrificed for tone scale.
This results in images whose quality is far superior to the ink-jet or wax-transfer products;
image quality so high in fact, to the unaided eye, dye diffusion images are indistinguishable
from their silver-halide counterparts.
Eastman Kodak Co. offers a highly refined application of dye diffusion technology in the
Kodak XL 7700 Digital Continuous Tone Printer and Kodak EKTATHERM media products. The
XL . 7700 Printer represents a serious alternative to expensive laser-based film recorders for
applications which require high quality image output from digital data files.
This paper presents an explanation of dye diffusion printing, what distinguishes it from
other technologies, sensitometric control and image quality parameters, and applications
within the industry, particularly that of Airborne Reconnaissance and Remote Sensing.
Current and forecast reductions in the defense budget are being compounded by the fact
that certain programs are protected from budget cuts, to some extent, because of their highly
classified nature. This fact is particularly true in the airborne reconnaissance field. Survival
of unprotected airborne reconnaissance programs, according to a congressional staffer, can be
considerably enhanced if they fall under the umbrella of verification/open skies, drug war, or
special operations/low intensity conflict (SOLIC) areas of support. An application to the
SOUC mission is an F-16 reconnaissance POD attached to the U-27 Cessna Caravan.
The Caravan reconnaissance system consists of an infrared line scanning imagery sensor, a
steerable forward-looking infrared sensor, and an electro-optic push broom imagery sensor.
Also included is an imagery recorder, video management system and imagery data link. The
U27 cabin is modified to provide the sensor operator with real time display and control of
all sensors with a repeater display for the pilot.
The caravan is not limited to the reconnaissance mission. Quick reconfiguration can provide
for an airborne command post version, strike version with 50 caliber three-barrel Gatling
gun and missiles, hospital medical evacuation, or transport. The aircraft is self sufficient and
can operate off of minimally prepared landing strips.
It appears that initiatives such as this are a direction that can significantly expand the
airborne reconnaissance market, and requires the development of innovative new sensors and
The next generation of unmanned tactical reconnaissance
aircraft are designed to coniplement manned reconnaissance
aircraft in meeting the needs for high resolution tactical
imagery in a high threat environment. The unmanned recce
aircraft is well suited for applications in which the target area
is well known and heavily defended. These targets are often
located in rear areas well beyond the FEBA and outside of radio
line-of-sight (LOS). The UAV must operate autonomously to record
reconnaissance information and transmit this imagery in near-
real-time when data link coiununications can be established with
the controlling ground processing facility. This paper describes
current concepts which improve the timeliness of data and provide
additional synergism between manned and unmanned tactical
reconnaissance systems. The UAV significantly extends the
operational range and enhances versatility of tactical
reconnaissance at low risk and low cost.
Demonstrations during the summer of 1988 culminated in a quick-turn Naval Air Development Center (NADC) engineering
effort which demonstrated the feasibility of flying an Expeditionary Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (ETARS) Pod
on an AV-8B Night Attack aircraft. Fairchild's AN/ASQ-197 Sensor Control-Data Display Set (SC-DDS), which had recently
completed Full Scale Development (FSD) Testing for the Film version of F/A-18, was modified to control the Pod, its
sensors, the video tape recorder and other communication equipment from a single rotary switch, four caution indicators and
the standard AV-8B multiplex bus. This paper describes the functions performed by the AN/ASQ-197 Modified during the
successful AV-8B ETARS feasibility flight demonstration program.
The installation of the Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (ATARS) in the F/A-18D(RC) presented a complex set
of design challenges. At the time of the F/A-18D(RC) ATARS option exercise, the design and development of the ATARS
subsystems and the parameters of the F/A-18D(RC) were essentially fixed. ATARS is to be installed in the gun bay of the
F/A-18D(RC), taking up no additional room, nor adding any more weight than what was removed.
The F/A-18D(RC) installation solution required innovations in mounting, cooling, and fit techniques, which made constant
trade study essential. The successful installation in the F/A-18D(RC) is the result of coupling fundamental design
engineering with brainstorming and nonstandard approaches to every situation.
ATARS is sponsored by the Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The F/A-18D(RC) installation is
being funded to the Air Force by the Naval Air Systems Command, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Tactical Reconnaissance capability is at its lowest level in thirty years and getting worse. The paper deals
with some of the recent history leading up to the present situation. It then discusses the current status and outlines some of the
causes for the decline. The future is postulated and the initial steps to reduce the declining trend are presented.
Technology to implement very high speed digital signal processing has experienced rapid growth during the last decade. Techniques using this technology to reduce the data channel width required by an imaging reconnaissance system to achieve the timely transmission of data from sensor subsystems to remote exploitation subsystems are being developed at an increasing rate. The incorporation of these techniques into imaging reconnaissance systems promises payoffs in performance and co-operability with other collection systems within the restrictions imposed by existing and near-term projected data channels. This paper presents a summary overview of techniques available to designers using current technology. An analysis performed on a hypothetical system is used to illustrate the sensitivities of various algorithms to characteristics of and errors in individual system components; an analysis of the impact of the techniques considered on system performance. The techniques treated are restricted to lossy algorithms which preserve the essential imaging nature of the system to the end user i.e., the system output is in image form, not alphanumeric. Performance is defined as the ability of th system to collect and reconstruct scene image information. DPCM, ADPCM, and DCT compression techniques will be considered in the detailed treatment.
Disseminating operationally important, time-critical intelligence information to key decision makers at all
echelons in a modern battlefield environment is a complex communications problem. Intelligence imagery collection
by a variety of sensors is accomplished quickly, and delivery of this gathered imagery using data link technology
can be accomplished in nearly real time. The gathered data can be quickly and correctly processed and interpreted
using state-of-the-art techniques. Resultant products can be provided to collocated echelons almost immediately.
However, geographically separated, front-line commanders seldom receive the final imaged products of this
communication process in a timely manner. In many instances, they must rely on textual representations of the
imagery to make critical operational decisions because the imagery is difficult to disseminate m a timely manner
using existing communications systems.
There is an operational need to provide real time intelligence imagery to geographically separated, operational
users. The technology exists to develop a secondary imagery dissemination system to fill this need. The purpose
of this paper is to review the requirements for such a system and to discuss briefly the feasibility of applying line-of-
sight radio frequency communications technology to develop such a system. A brief operational scenario will also
be presented where the existence of such a dissemination system could be very important.
Several years ago pushbroom slit and image spectrographs were one kind of most
difficult multispectral scanners to realize. Since the microprocessor and CCD-based
technology came rapidly up those system are now coming back. Many advantages are
combined in these systems such as highest spectral and spatial resolutions,
tremendous increase of number of bands to be recorded at the same time, choice of
look directions, programmable band sets, real time displays of bandsets during
recording, on line calibration and evaluation between recording in the aircraft. Major impacts on these records are drifts and rolls, caused by the aircraft, resulting
in visible deviations from the preselected flight line. The deviations cannot be
fully corrected during flights, but minimized by keeping the aircraft on its track
next to the flight line. Computer controlled flight direction for the pilot or
autopilot by GPS/INS with storing the tracking data together with a stabilized
platform is an up to date answer.
The Houston Fearless 76 Government Projects Group has been actively engaged
for more than twenty-five years as a sub-contractor and currently as a prime
contractor in the design, manufacture, repair and logistics support of custom
mobile ground stations and their equipment accommodations. Other associated
products include environmental control units (ECU's), mobilizers for shelters
and a variety of mobile power generation units (MPU's).
Since 1984, Houston Fearless 76 has designed and manufactured four 8' x 8' x
22' nuclear hardened mobile shelters. These shelters were designed to contain
electronic data processing/reduction equipment. One shelter is currently
being operated by the Air Force as a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) approved and certified Special Corrpartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
During the development and manufacturing process of the shelters, we received
continual technical assistance and design concept evaluations from Science
Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Operations Analysis and Logistics
Engineering Division and the Nondestructive Inspection Lab at McClellan
AFB. SAIC was originally employed by the Air Force to design the nuclear
hardening specifications applied to these shelters.
The specific levels of hardening to which the shelters were designed are
classified and will not be mentioned during this presentation.
Magnetic Bearings are being used to isolate sensors from the severe vibrational, thermal,
and frictional environments encountered on airborne systems. Technology developed by
Aura Systems in the design and fabrication of magnetic suspension systems shows great
utility for the stabilization of airborne sensors. This paper will cover the performance
results of a generic set of magnetic bearings capable of suspending 600 lbs, and the
Magnetic Gimbal Fabrication and Test (MGFT) project, which consisted of fabrication and
performance testing of a single axis magnetic bearing. The MGFT results show LINE OF
SIGHT (LOS) accuracy from 3 to 8 p.rad with an angular disturbance of 48 rad/sec achieving
vibration rejection of up to 79 dB. Also included is the description of the Advanced Missile
Technology (AMT) project, which consists of fabrication and test of a single axis magnetic
arc bearing for a small diameter missile. The AMT shows the capability to miniaturize the
magnets and to provide extremely low friction under thermal loading. After proving the
performance of magnetic bearings with the MGFT program a vast reduction in the size and
weight of the magnetic bearing and associated electronics.
As pressure on our limited land base continues to increase, managers of public lands
must have more accurate information within a shorter period of time in order to make
logical, defensible decisions which are acceptable to members of the public. Remote
sensing technology provides many tools required to gather much of the information
required by decision makers. Some of the most heavily used tools are cameras, radar,
and electro-optical scanners carried on airborne and spaceborne platforms. This
overview provides a glimpse of aerial reconnaissance activities in the USDA Forest
Service. Both personal knowledge and literature searches were used as references.
Significant advances in sensors and applications have been made since 1985 and it is
important for international civilian and military users to continue to cooperate in
the acquisition and exploitation of airborne and spaceborne reconnaissance systems
Loral Defense Systems-Arizona has developed a high-performance
synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) for small aircraft and unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) reconnaissance applications. This miniature radar, called
Miniature Synthetic-Aperture Radar (MSAR), is packaged in a small
volume and has low weight. It retains key features of large SAR systems,
including high-resolution imaging and all-weather operation. The operating
frequency of MSAR can optionally be selected to provide foliage
penetration capability. Many imaging radar configurations can be derived
using this baseline system. MSAR with a data link provides an attractive
UAV sensor. MSAR with a real-time image formation processor is well
suited to installations where onboard processing and immediate image
analysis are required. The MSAR system provides high-resolution imaging
for short-to-medium range reconnaissance applications.
New distortion-invariant correlation filters for reconnaissance applications (rotation-invariance)
are considered. These use circular harmonic functions (CHFs) combined with minimum average
correlation plane (MACE) filter techniques and new generalized rotation-invariant MACE filters using
Numerical calculations of modulation transfer functions (MTFs) for low-frequency mechanical vibrations are presented. The problem is significant in practical reconnaissance where primary vibrations are at frequencies too low to be described by the usual closed form Bessel function MTF. The low vibration frequency situation involves random process blur radii and MTFs which can only be handled statistically since no closed form solution is possible. This is illustrated here. Comparisons are made to a closed form approximate MTF solution suggested previously. Agreement is generally good, especially for relatively large and linear blur radius situations.
This paper describes a master system for SO/LIC activities concentrating on
the reconnaissance element. The central element of reconnaissance is a
pseudo-satellite balloon system that gives a SO/LIC commander his own realtime
reconnaissance asset that allows him to be self sufficient in the key
elements of a SO/LIC operation; namely, command, control, communications
A systems view is applied to delineate and develop some key
issues in designing an E-O reconnaissance suite. The vital role
played by dynamic range is stressed and its use for optimizing size
and cost is explored. It is concluded that the configuration
typically employed can be significantly improved by consolidating
functions and using certain scene properties to simplify the
'Aerobureau' is an airborne newsroom capable of furnishing news-gathering, communications, logistics, remote sensing, and satellite-uplink TV transmission functions for live coverage of major events. The Aerobureau organization plans to market its services to U.S. and foreign news networks, cable services, and local TV stations. Aerobureau will be unique in its ability to operate over politically unstable and logistically remote and isolated locales.
Much of the information of interest to pilots in flight is display-limited, and is undergoing substantial expansion due to improved sensor output and signal processing; attention is accordingly given to digitally-based instrument display imaging in the present evaluation of high-resolution cockpit display technologies. Also noted are the advantages of digitally transmitted sensor data in cases where the airborne reconnaissance user may be able to analyze telemetered airborne data in real time and respond with requests to the pilot for more detailed information of specific battlefield sites.