20 May 2016 SKYWARD: the next generation airborne infrared search and track
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Abstract
Infrared Search and Track systems are an essential element of the modern and future combat aircrafts. Passive automatic search, detection and tracking functions, are key points for silent operations or jammed tactical scenarios. SKYWARD represents the latest evolution of IRST technology in which high quality electro-optical components, advanced algorithms, efficient hardware and software solutions are harmonically integrated to provide high-end affordable performances. Additionally, the reduction of critical opto-mechanical elements optimises weight and volume and increases the overall reliability. Multiple operative modes dedicated to different situations are available; many options can be selected among multiple or single target tracking, for surveillance or engagement, and imaging, for landing or navigation aid, assuring the maximum system flexibility. The high quality 2D-IR sensor is exploited by multiple parallel processing chains, based on linear and non-linear techniques, to extract the possible targets from background, in different conditions, with false alarm rate control. A widely tested track processor manages a large amount of candidate targets simultaneously and allows discriminating real targets from noise whilst operating with low target to background contrasts. The capability of providing reliable passive range estimation is an additional qualifying element of the system. Particular care has been dedicated to the detector non-uniformities, a possible limiting factor for distant targets detection, as well as to the design of the electro-optics for a harsh airborne environment. The system can be configured for LWIR or MWIR waveband according to the customer operational requirements. An embedded data recorder saves all the necessary images and data for mission debriefing, particularly useful during inflight system integration and tuning.
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L. Fortunato, L. Fortunato, G. Colombi, G. Colombi, A. Ondini, A. Ondini, C. Quaranta, C. Quaranta, C. Giunti, C. Giunti, B. Sozzi, B. Sozzi, G. Balzarotti, G. Balzarotti, } "SKYWARD: the next generation airborne infrared search and track", Proc. SPIE 9819, Infrared Technology and Applications XLII, 98190K (20 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2229065; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2229065
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