The volume of digital imagery generated by existing and planned airborne reconnaissance systems requires the use of lossy compression techniques in order to store the real-time imagery on-board or transmit it to a ground station. The government is migrating compression used for reconnaissance applications from proprietary techniques to a national and international standards in order to provide a more seamless image dissemination path. This paper describes the requirements for image compression in advanced tactical reconnaissance system and compares the performance of national and international lossy compression techniques.
The Royal Air Force is currently in the process of a major upgrade to its airborne reconnaissance capabilities. This is the result of a transition from primarily camera based reconnaissance systems to a near real time day/night, all weather, reconnaissance capability based on a mix of visible and IR electro-optic sensors and synthetic aperture and moving target indication radar sensors. This paper reviews the principal upgrade programs and identifies the operational aims, system requirements and resultant capabilities of each system.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has developed an advanced 2nd generation IR sensor system under the guidance of the US Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) as part of an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) called Counter Mobile Rocket Launcher (CMRL). Designed to support rapid counter fire against mobile targets from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the sensor system, called reconnaissance IR surveillance target acquisition (RISTA II), consists of a 2nd generation FLIR/line scanner, a digital data link, a ground processing facility, and an aided target recognizer (AiTF). The concept of operation together with component details was reported at the passive sensors IRIS in March, 1996. The performance testing of the RISTA II System was reported at the National IRIS in November, 1997. The RISTA II sensor has subsequently undergone performance testing on a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 for a manned reconnaissance application in August and October, 1997, at Volkel Airbase, Netherlands. That testing showed performance compatible with the medium altitude IR sensor performance. The results of that testing, together with flight test imagery, will be presented.
The AHI (Airborne Hyperspectral Imager) system was designed to detect the presence of buried land mines from the air through detection of along wave IR observable associated with mine installation. The system is a helicopter-borne LWIR hyperspectral imager with real time on-board radiometric calibration and mine detection. It collects hyperspectral imagery from 7.5 to 11.5 μm in either 256 or 32 spectral bands. At all wavelengths the AHI noise equivalent delta (NEΔT) temperature is less than 0.1K at 300K and the NESR is less than .02 watts/m2-sr-μm.
Many UAVs are in the market place but few are very profitable. After studying the lessons learned form our predecessors, a commercial off the shelf approach was chosen to meet the price performance challenge. A multi-mission capable aircraft was chosen to provide exposure to the widest possible market. Using an analysis tool developed for DARPA, the Vigilante VTOL UAV was successfully competed against both Outrider and Predator.
The effective attenuation coefficient of underwater target signals and that of backscattered signals are considered same in the present discuss. By the experiments and simulations of underwater target lidar signals, it is found that they are different. A new Monte Carlo method is introduced in the paper, the scattering phase function is approximately by a distorted Henyey-Greenstein (H-G) function, and the expression of the scattering angle (theta) is obtained from H-G function. The calculation efficiency of this method is improved five times than the traditional Monte Carlo method. Various sizes of the target are simulated in the paper. From the calculation results it is concluded that the effective attenuation coefficient of underwater target signals is larger than that of backscattered signals.
In 1994, the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office established a new standard to ensure interoperability between US imagery intelligence and reconnaissance systems, the Common IMagery Ground/Surface System (CIGSS) standard. The US Marine Corps Tactical Exploitation Group (TEG) is the first imagery reconnaissance system to be designed and built from the beginning to meet the CIGSS standard.
The TEG system is a mobile imagery reconnaissance ground system initially designed to process ATARS, APG-73, and ASARS II imagery. It is currently being produced by GDE Systems Inc., in San Diego, California. Each system consists of a trailer-mounted antenna, three HMMWV-mounted shelters, and a trailered pop-up tent containing the necessary imagery data link, processing, exploitation, and dissemination components. This paper will outline the CIGSS standard, and describe the TEG system architecture and its technical capabilities.
This paper introduces a spatio-temporal technique for selecting or filtering out lower quality digital image frames. The technique is demonstrated on Electro-Optical/Infrared image sequences which suggests it is a candidate for exploiting reconnaissance (recce) imagery or can be a part of a recce subsystem. For human vision exploitation, a few poor quality image frames out of hundreds in a digital image sequence may be only a minor irritation when the sequence runs at the typical 30 frames per se cond. Of course, if that human needs to examine each frame, a system that automatically removes or enhances lower quality image frames could be beneficial. For machine vision subsystems, a few poor quality image frames could cause lower probability of recognition.The filter technique introduced in this paper can improve input into machine vision algorithms. Another application for this technique is digital transmission to filter out unwanted images prior to transmission or to selectively enhance the poor quality frames. A major portion of current research into quality in digital image sequences focuses on transmission systems where an input high quality image sequence can be compared to the lower quality image sequence receivved at the output of the transmission system. However, this paper shows a technique for juding the quality of the input image frames prior to transmission, without a transmission system or without any knowledge of the higher quality image input. The impact of digital image artifacts on the spatio-temporal quality are shown. The quality variations in the individual frames of the input image sequence are charted to show which frames are of lower quality and thus need filtering.
The proliferation and technology advances of digital sensors for reconnaissance imaging require a commensurate increase in the productivity of ground-based exploitation system to process the increased volume of remotely-sensed data. Systems to support this level of production, themselves, must have significantly reduced development and life-cycle costs from previously installed systems. For cost, growth, and integration advantages, reconnaissance exploitation systems should be designed to maximize Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software.
As an example, the Real-Time Exploitation System is a state-of-the-art system for photo interpretation and exploitation of real-time digital reconnaissance imagery. Using COTS hardware, the system is able to receive imagery at rates greater than 80 Mpixels/sec; perform detailed interpretation, exploitation and report generation, and; disseminate reports to intelligence users over secure networks. New technologies have been applied in workflow management, database management, and user interfaces to provide the image analyst with superior analysis tools and access to other intelligence data sources. Photogrammetric functions are also provided for monoscopic and stereoscopic imagery. These functions provide greater geographic accuracy than is achievable in most reconnaissance exploitation systems. The Real-Time Exploitation System significantly reduces timelines for the analysis and report generation process, and significantly increases the quality and accuracy of reports.
This paper is proposed by the laboratory of ISPESL involved, in particular, in the study of interactions between industrial plants and natural hazards. For the determining of eventual short term effects of a catastrophic and/or extreme natural event, a study site in the industrial area of Ascoli Piceno (Marche Region, Central Italy) has been individuated. This area is particularly interesting and sensitive due to the coexistence of industrial plants and urban settlements in a fluvial environment. The study of updated stereoscopic aerial photos, integrated by field survey and information for different sources, has allowed the definition of land vulnerability and the individuation of different natural hazards. As outlined by this analysis, the major geomorphologic risk, in the study area, is represented by the eventual flooding of River Tronto. Indeed many of the industrial plants are located in the flood area of the river, just a few meters above the mean river water level. For that concerns this kind of event a zoning of hazard has been derived from stereoscopic aerial photos analysis, integrated by hydrological, geological and geomorphological data.
The migration of communication systems towards networks improves connectivity and provides users increased services. There is a growing need to connect more services to the network thereby requiring a wideband backbone infrastructure. Wideband data links, such as CDL, provide the necessary bandwidth to establish an air-to-air network backbone capable of supporting anticipated network traffic loads. This paper will address the migration path for developing the wideband backbone infrastructure.
This paper reviews the origin, at the start of this decade, of Electro-Optic (E-O) framing technology. It follows the development of the 4-, 25-, and 50-Mpixel focal plane arrays (FPAs) which incorporate on-chip electronic forward motion compensation (FMC). These FPAs enable intelligence-quality performance under dynamic tactical maneuvers. Current technology has extended E-O framing into the infrared (IR) spectrum with the introduction of the world's largest IR FPA, a newly 4-Mpixel Platinum Silicide (PtSi) array.
The future of E-O framing is being defined by two new United States patents announced in this paper. "Profiled" FMC provides the ability to enhance on-chip FMS using near real time image correlation. The process also yields a powerful "Precision Strike" capability by generating precision geo-location information which can be quickly transmitted to today's precision weapons.
The second patent makes use of aircraft INS information to generate two-dimensional vectors. These vectors can be applied to a unique two-dimensional FPA image motion compensation architecture. Two-axis motion compensation improves the robustness of E-O framing cameras to dynamic aircraft maneuvers. The text describes compensation performance for rates of 30° per second in roll, and 10° per second in pitch and yaw with less than 2-pixels of blur over the entire array.
The image performance analysis of the second set of flights for the DB-110 demonstration reconnaissance camera system is presented. The DB-110 demonstration sensor consists of a dual band (visible/MWIR) LOROP camera developed by Raytheon for continuous day/night operation. The second image collection set was conducted this summer at various areas in the UK with the DB-110 mounted in a pod on the Strike Attack Operational Evaluation Unit (SAOEU) Tornado Squadron Aircraft. These result are compared to the predicted performance and prior imagery collected in the winter of 1997 at other sites in the UK with the DERA Tornado GR1 Aircraft. The NIIRS scale was used as the image performance metric. The predicted performance shows good agreement with the measured data. Sample imagery from both the winter and summer collections are also presented.
For many years 16 mm film cameras have been used in severe environments. These film cameras are used on Hy-G automotive sleds, airborne weapon testing, range tracking, and other hazardous environments. The companies and government agencies using these cameras are in need of replacing them with a more cost-effective solution. Film-based cameras still produce the best resolving capability. However, film development time, chemical disposal, non-optimal lighting conditions, recurring media cost, and faster digital analysis are factors influencing the desire for a 16 mm film camera replacement. This paper will describe a new imager from Kodak that has been designed to replace 16 mm high- speed film cameras. Also included is a detailed configuration, operational scenario, and cost analysis of Kodak's imager for airborne applications.
The KODAK EKTAPRO HG Imager, Model 2000 is a high-resolution color or monochrome CCD camera especially designed for replacement of rugged high-speed film cameras. The HG Imager is a self-contained camera. It features a high-resolution [512x384], light-sensitive CCD sensor with an electronic shutter. This shutter provides blooming protection that prevents "smearing" of bright light sources, e.g., camera looking into a bright sun reflection. The HG Imager is a very rugged camera packaged in a highly integrated housing. This imager operates from +22 to 42 VDC. The HG Imager has a similar interface and form factor is that of high-speed film cameras, e.g., Photosonics 1B. However, the HG also has the digital interfaces such as 100BaseT Ethernet and RS-485 that enable control and image transfer. The HG Imager is designed to replace 16 mm film cameras that support rugged testing applications.
This paper describes the Recon/Optical, Inc. (ROI) CA-265 Millennium camera, a tactical, IR framing camera which will enable 24-hour tactical reconnaissance. With the advent of the CA-265 Millennium camera, ROI's proven, visible- spectrum, wafer-scale, focal plane array framing technology is extended into the 3- to 5-micrometers IR wavelength spectrum. As part of the description, this paper also summarizes the camera's performance under a range of operational conditions.
Solid state recorders (SSR) for next generation airborne recce suites must record at up to 10Gb/S, have extensive editing features and be available at low cost. Storage capacities into the 100GByte range will be required. VME- based COTS flash memory boards, controllers and interconnect means are all presently available to meet these requirements. VME technology is well proven in avionics environments. By combining low overhead error detection and correction with lossy compression, the effective capacity and bandwidth of the storage array maybe dramatically increased.
This paper presents the development status of a 50-million pixel, large-format, electro-optical framing charge-coupled device (CCD) with on-chip graded forward motion compensation. The development addresses the requirements set forth by the US Naval Research Lab for Ultra-high Resolution reconnaissance. A 5,040 by 10,080 element CCD has been developed and demonstrated to meet the 100-Mpixel/s UHR requirement.
Since a need has been established for solid-state recorders for airborne reconnaissance system and since solid-state memory technology has been demonstrated as a high-speed recorder in high-performance aircraft, Fairchild Defence presents concepts and suggestions involving the use of the new High-speed Solid Recorder. Furthermore, the transition from film reconnaissance system to EO systems has only recently emerged in US military with systems being readied for active duty use. CONOPS from past systems may not be applicable to the newer EO system, especially when a solid- state recorder is utilized. This paper takes a brief, initial look at how solid-state recorders might be used with deployed tactical reconnaissance systems. It attempts to amplify the benefits of using solid-state recorders in place of older film or tape recorder systems.
The image intensifier based night vision goggle which has proven so useful in low light or night observation applications, can be mated to the typical CD video camera for imaging under these adverse lighting conditions. Image intensifiers have specific spectral response, low light sensitivity, resolution, and electronic characteristics to augment standard CCD camera capability and thus provide video suited for reconnaissance. The variety of these devices include the Gen I, Gen II and the Gen II series of image intensifiers. Recent developments have increased the variety of spectral response, quantum efficiencies and spatial resolution within the Gen II and Gen III types. The SPIE Airborne Reconnaissance session paper presented in 1995 entitled 'Advanced in Low Light Level Video Imaging' described the then available image intensifiers. This paper explores and updates the data of the 1995 paper and discusses the changes and improvements in image intensifiers since the original paper. Additional information concerning the CCD camera and image intensification for reconnaissance applications is also presented.
This paper describes a remarkable but relatively unknown algorithm invented by Robert Rice of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab for lossless compression of imagery and other scientific data collected by spaceborne sensors. Its state-of-the-art performance is compared to the more well known lossless JPEG compression algorithm. Since lossless algorithms by definition produce perfectly reconstructed imagery, performance comparisons are based on the amount of compression each algorithm achieves. The JPEG algorithm uses Huffman tables. For optical performance the HUffman table used by JPEG must be custom-designed based on the statistics of the image being coded. The Rice algorithm which uses no tables is shown to produce compression results comparable to JPEG with custom Huffman tables. Implementation of the Rice algorithm which requires only one pass is shown to be simpler than the implementation of custom lossless JPEG which requires two passes through the image data. The effects of channel errors on Rice-encoded imagery are analyzed, revealing a probably unintentional tendency toward self-correction of some errors.
Proc. SPIE 3431, Ultrahigh-resolution electro-optical framing camera for reconnaissance and other applications using a 9216 x 9216 pixel wafer-scale focal plane array, 0000 (5 November 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.330201
A framing camera incorporating an ultra high resolution CCD detector array comprised of 9,216 by 9,216 pixels is discussed. The detector array measures 8 by 8 centimeters and has been scaled to be fabricated in one piece on a 5 inch diameter silicon wafer. Pixel size is 8.75 by 8.75 microns which gives 57 lp/mm resolution. The detector array features a two frame per second readout capability which allows collection of stereo imagery from very high V/H platforms. Image Motion Compensation is achieved by operating the frame readout clocks during the exposure interval in typical TDI fashion. The high geometric accuracy of pixel placement on the array yields a camera suitable for mapping, reconnaissance, space and astronomy applications. In this paper, measured detector array performance, detector array yield and overall camera performance are presented.