This paper describes a PC-based near-real time implementation of a two- channel maximum likelihood classifier. A prototype for the detection of ice formation on the External Tank (ET) of the Space Shuttle is being developed for NASA Science and Technology Laboratory by Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company at Stennis Space Center, MS. Various studies have been conducted to obtain regions in the mid-infrared and the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum that show a difference in the reflectance characteristics of the ET surface when it is covered with ice, frost or water. These studies resulted in the selection of two channels of the spectrum for differentiating between various phases of water using imagery data. The objective is to be able to do an online classification of the ET images into distinct regions denoting ice, frost, wet or dry areas. The images are acquired with an infrared camera and digitized before being processed by a computer to yield a fast color-coded pattern, with each color representing a region. A two- monitor PC-based setup is used for image processing. Various techniques for classification, both supervised and unsupervised, are being investigated for developing a methodology. This paper discusses the implementation of a supervised classification technique. The statistical distribution of the reflectance characteristics of ice, frost, water formation on Spray-on-Foam-Insulation (SOFI), that covers the ET surface, are acquired. These statistics are later used for classification. The computer can be set in either a training mode or classifying mode. In the training mode, it learns the statistics of the various classes. In the classifying mode, it produced a color-coded image denoting the respective categories of classification. The results of the classifier are memory-mapped for efficiency. The speed of the classification process is only limited by the speed of the digital frame grabber and the software that interfaces the frame grabber to the monitor. The process has been observed to take 4 seconds for a 512 X 480 pixel image. This set-up may have applications in other areas where detection of ice and frost on surfaces is of critical importance.