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20 March 1998 Beyond third generation: a sensor-fusion targeting FLIR pod for the F/A-18
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The Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 pilots state that the targeting FLIR system does not provide enough target definition and clarity. As a result, high altitude tactics missions are the most difficult due to the limited amount of time available to identify the target. If the targeting FLIR system had a better stand-off range and an improved target contrast then the pilots' task would be easier. Unfortunately, the replacement cost of the existing FLIR equipment is prohibitive. The purpose of this study is to modify the existing F/A-18 targeting FLIR system with a dual-band color sensor to improve target contrast and stand- off ranges. Methods: A non-real-time color sensor fusion system was flown on a NASA F/A-18 in a NITE Hawk targeting FLIR pod. Flight videotape was recorded from a third generation image intensified CCD and a first generation long-wave infrared sensor. A standard visual search task was used to assess whether pilots' situational awareness was improved by combining the two sensor videotape sequences into a single fused color or grayscale representation. Results: Fleet aviators showed that color fusion improved target detection, but hindered situational awareness. Aviators reported the lack of color constancy caused the scene to be unaesthetically pleasing; however, target detection was enhanced. Conclusion: A color fusion scene may benefit targeting applications but hinder situational awareness.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
William K. Krebs, Dean A. Scribner, Geoffrey M. Miller, James S. Ogawa, and Jonathon M. Schuler "Beyond third generation: a sensor-fusion targeting FLIR pod for the F/A-18", Proc. SPIE 3376, Sensor Fusion: Architectures, Algorithms, and Applications II, (20 March 1998);


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