This paper describes an inexpensive, readily available video camera suite for use in airborne reconnaissance applications. Multiple configurations allow for selection between high resolution black and white, color, low-light or multi-spectral video cameras, all providing output in standard RS-170 video format.
Reconnaissance mission planning, including: scheduling of flight operations, target selection, archiving of IMINT data, and dissemination of IMINT data, is an increasingly complex function at all levels; all the more so as the next generation of highly agile, multi-role, real- time imaging systems come on line. The near-simultaneous advent of JSTARS, UAVs, and ATARS, each playing separate but overlapping roles in reconnaissance/surveillance operations, adds to the necessity to rethink how we plan to use these systems synergistically to maximum benefit. The goal is always to produce and disseminate Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) data in some optimum fashion as a means to the ultimate end of achieving/maintaining tactical superiority. To meet this goal new concepts for integrating the mission planning of multiple imaging platforms are needed. Some are suggested here.
The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Warminster, Pennsylvania is sponsoring the development of a low-cost, high-performance, standoff surveillance/reconnaissance system under a Small Business Innovation Research contract. The contract calls for development and flight test of a prototype/brassboard standoff system that approaches the performance of existing systems at a fraction of their cost. This paper describes the performance, physical and cost objectives, details the trade-off analyses performed, and presents the results of preliminary flight tests conducted in the spring of 1993. It also outlines the integration and software development required to meet the program objectives.
Digitally scanned aerial photographs (1:15840) of 40 forest areas were processed by two texture algorithms, a high pass filter and a diversity filter. The texture indices generated by these algorithms and the textural statistics on the raw data were regressed with forest traits of age, height, crown closure, crown width and trees/acre. Five pixel sizes varying from 100 to 500 pixels per inch were evaluated for their effect on the regression analysis. Correlations were much stronger when variations related to species composition were reduced.
In recent years Fairchild, as other aerospace corporations, has conducted internal reviews focused on commercialization of products originally developed for military applications. These efforts have yielded several products which marry the flexibility and cost incentives found in commercial systems with the uncompromising reliability required by demanding military environments. As a case in point, this paper will discuss a commercialized variant of Fairchild's Reconnaissance Mission Analysis & Planning System used in conjunction with our Reconnaissance Management System products to provide a comprehensive sensor control, data annotation, and mission planning functional for airborne reconnaissance operations in support of the Treaty on Open Skies.
A low cost MWIR thermal imaging line scanner based on a multiplexed PbSe FPA has been developed. It was designed to be mounted on the underside of UAVs to remotely map battlefields. It also has many dual-use commercial applications. The first unit has been tested in the laboratory and in roof-top imaging demonstrations. It has produced excellent imagery. The noise equivalent temperature difference has been measured to be 0.55 C in preliminary tests. An improved FPA will be installed soon in the unit which will significantly reduce the NET.
To determine the spatial resolutions necessary for specific types of analyses and requirements, it is appropriate to examine the sizes, densities, and contrasts of features that will eventually be studied. Indeed, the level of detail for an investigation is primarily a joint function of spatial and spectral resolution. Multispectral and multisensor resolutions are also important; however, these parameters are not as critical as spatial resolution. Thus, the determination of the needed spatial resolutions for interpretations is a function of the analytical requirements for the eventual application. A variety of interpretation requirements ranging from site generalization to item-specific identification exist for the reconnaissance communities.
An electro-optical (E-O) area array reconnaissance detector has been developed which accomplishes forward motion compensation electronically and without moving parts. The detector is organized into column groups which can be individually clocked at separate and controlled rates to accommodate graded image motion which occurs when viewing objects from a moving platform, such as a reconnaissance aircraft. The advantage of this development is that is permits E-O imaging using area array detectors (i.e., a framing sensor) which allow reconnaissance mission profiles and tactics very similar to those available when using film cameras. These mission profiles and tactics afford a distinct improvement in the survivability of the aircraft and aircrew over current linear `pushbroom' sensor technology.
NAC Inc. of Tokyo, together with NACoUS of Woodland Hills, California has for several years been developing a recorder, the V-315, for high bandwidth image signals such as those output by sensors for various reconnaissance applications. Such sensors have rapidly advanced in recent years. In order to check full system compatibility with such sensors, NAC's engineering model was integrated and subjected to (benign environment) flight testing last year. As a result of these successful tests, the decision was made to proceed to the development of pre-production units (the `flyable' units) of the V-315 for more extensive flight testing. Flyable High Bandwidth Analog Recorders are now in the final stages of development as described below.
Technological developments in sensor technology, image data storage, processing, interpretation, analysis and transmission within the last decade have caused a revolution in our ability to sense, measure and exploit imagery from remote platforms. This is causing us to reassess sensor systems and the traditional division of responsibility between data acquisition, data analysis, and information processing. The ability to collect throughout the spectrum and to further divide the spectrum into discrete segments offer the promise of greater selectivity of collection and exploitation against target specific requirements. In view of these developments, which by the way are not static, this paper presents a review of where the technology now stands and where the state-of-the-science is headed. This is not intended to be all encompassing, but to highlight a few technologies that will be influential in the future.
This paper describes the development of an airborne optronic search and track system intended for the Swedish Air Force JA37 Viggen and JAS 39 Gripen. The system is very compact and well suited for retrofit of any type of aircraft.
Focal planes constructed of high speed, high resolution CCD image sensors are suitable for airborne reconnaissance applications, but have mainly consisted of linear and TDI array configurations. Until recently large format area arrays have been limited to staring applications, characterized by long integration times and slow readout rates. Large area reconnaissance focal planes require opto-mechanical systems for motion compensation across the imaging plane. A unique CCD architecture has been developed to provide electronic image motion compensation using variable speed vertical clocking segments. This architecture has been applied to very large full frame CCD sensors having 2048 X 2048 and 5040 X 5040 pixel formats.
This paper will discuss the development of an automated cueing, recognition and tracking system. The concept of multi-sensor integration and information fusion is shown embodied in the hierarchical architecture of information systems. A neural network paradigm is used for the classification of the objects-of-interest. Finally target tracking, the last step in the surveillance technology, is discussed.
In January 1991, Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical embarked on a company funded, quick reaction program to develop a real-time reconnaissance kit which can be installed on existing BQM- 34A target aircraft. This kit was designed to provide real-time, day-night, reconnaissance video imagery to the battlefield commander in the field or to the airborne command post. This imagery is used to direct or redirect airborne strike aircraft using the latest targeting and bomb-damage assessment information available. This system uses low-cost, broadcast TV, recording, and data communications equipment technology readily available in either the commercial or military markets. The ARGUS system was subsequently demonstrated during Green Flag 92-5 at Nellis AFB, NV using two modified BQM-34A Firebee Target aircraft.
Extending our control over a battlefield requires additional height to encompass more of the elements that create control, i.e. increasing the field of regard, reducing the effect of topographical cover, and extending line of sight communications distances. The effectiveness of our forces involved in theater size conflicts can be utilized by the unmatched range, endurance, and altitude capability of High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (HALE UAV's). This recently demonstrated technology proved that a HALE UAV is essentially a geo-stationary, multi-use high altitude platform that has the advantages of both satellites and aircraft but not their inherent weaknesses.
At the end of 1992 Eurodrone, a jointly owned company by MATRA DEFENSE in France and STN in Germany were awarded a contract by the french and german government to develop a reconnaissance and target localization system based on UAV. This article describes the rationale for the chosen design of the system and its performance. The system provides realtime reconnaissance and target localization with high accuracy.
Ground forces doctrine maintains the need for highly mobile integrated combat arms, able to engage enemy forces at the forward line of troops. Timely artillery fire coordination permitting mutual support of armor, infantry and artillery during the deep attack operations is paramount to successful tactical operations and a logical mission for the UAV. This coordination, coupled with the usual imaging missions of reconnaissance, battle damage assessment, and targeting make the UAV system a valuable tool for the battlefield commander.
Trying to predict the future, especially thirty-two years from now, is a difficult endeavor. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate the minds of individuals from the diverse technical and scientific communities represented here today on the very nature of war and changing methods of maintaining our national security.
As an integral part of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) interoperability and commonality program, Vitro Corporation and the UAV Systems Engineering Directorate developed a UAV family architecture which lays the foundation for future UAV systems.
The Breve! project's main objective is to provide a UAV system for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions for Artillery regiments of French and german Army. The project is performed in cooperation between Germany and France, and is built on a common operational requirement specification. The project is now in development phase, and technical and operational trails are planned in 1997 and 1998, allowing delivery of a qualified system in 1999.
This paper describes the RPV-800 Infrared Line Scanner, recently developed system that uses a unique split-image gallium arsenide scan element and production DoD common modules. This design reduces system size and weight, eliminates field optical alignments and contributes to a high predicted system mean time between failure. Small size, reduced power and lower life-cycle cost are critical decision elements in the unmanned aerial vehicle environment.
Small, lightweight, high-performance, IR camera systems are desirable for UAV payloads and similar tactical environments. This paper discusses a mid-wave infrared camera specified for imaging in the broad band region from 3.0 to 5.0 micrometers . The camera has demonstrated excellent night and thermal vision in a multitude of conditions including penetration through adverse weather and over water.
A primary role of the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), within the battlefield theater of operation, is one of reconnaissance and surveillance. The communication system necessary to provide battlefield information consists of a collection sensor, a data link, and a ground processing system where data processing and exploitation are performed. As the demand for accurate battlefield reconnaissance increases, so does the need for the UAV to perform multiple missions for a variety of military users. This multi-mission capability can only be accomplished if the users' communication systems are common and interoperable. This poses quite a challenge since the UAV sensor may vary from chemical to multi-mode electro- optic/IR. To address this challenge, this paper explores the approach of deploying Paramax Systems Common Data Link a as part of the overall communication strategy. This type of system will allow UAV's to perform multiple missions with a variety of sensors while maintaining commonality and interoperability across military services.
An overview of the evolution of high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is presented. The new generation of small high altitude, long endurance (HALE) UAVs that will be available to carry remote sensing payloads is described. These aircraft are quite small by historical standards, but can carry payloads of 200 lb for 40 hours at 65,000 ft altitude. Small aircraft size results in several payload design issues and potential operational limitations, which are discussed. Evolutionary technological improvements are shown to have the potential to increase endurance, to perhaps 80 hours with small HALE UAVs. Substantially longer endurance will require much higher aircraft and payload reliability, as well as the use of advanced propulsion systems. Substantially more development and operations analysis is needed to determine if these concepts can result in systems with useful performance and operational flexibility, as well as having reasonable costs.
The combat experience of Desert Shield/Desert Storm revealed major shortcomings in the US Command, Control Communications and Intelligence (C3I) structure, especially in the following areas. The NCA, Pentagon, CIA watched CNN to get a quick update of the strategic picture, while in-theater pilots, especially the F-117 boys, watched to glean the Baghdad Bomb Damage Assessment, thus demonstrating a strong military need for a television based information processing and dissemination system for battlefield or crisis situations.
The purpose of this paper is to describe some challenges of testing aircraft and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) with reconnaissance payloads, and discuss how the challenges are met. The Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) has participated in testing the Electro-Optical-Long Range Oblique Photography System upgrade for the RF-4C aircraft, the Medium Range UAV (MR UAV), the ARGUS remotely piloted reconnaissance UAV, and other recent programs. Lessons learned from the UTTR's wide variety of recent test experience with developmental reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs can be used to guide future development and flight testing of next-generation systems.
Military avionics applications require the high reliability, which offers the challenge to design feasible avionics fiber-optic (AFO) data buses. In this paper, we present the new design methods to implement the highly reliable AFO data buses by using today's mature optoelectronic devices. To effective solve the problems associated with optical power budget and high reliability, the active-coupler architectures for both single-wavelength and multi- wavelength AFO data buses are proposed. The topologies are discussed in detail. To ensure the high-reliability data transmission on the buses, three efficient modulation techniques are presented, which can significantly reduce the complexity of optical transceivers and the processing time at receivers compared to using the modulation scheme recommended by the MIL-STD-1773. The hardware design of the proposed active-coupler-based AFO data buses is also described.
NATO, under the direction of Air Group IV (A/C 224) of the Air Force Armament Group is writing a Standardization Agreement (STANAG) for an Imagery Interoperable Data Link. This is the last segment of the NATO Imagery Interoperable Architecture (NIIA) to be completed. This paper will briefly the background of the development of the NIIA and the inter-relationship of the three segments, and then describe the approach being taken to the preparation of the data link STANAG. The concept of the data link described by a layered model using Open Systems Interconnect concepts to define interfaces between the layers will be discussed and then the specific interfaces being used for the STANAG development will be described.