The Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly (SADA) is the critical module in the Department of Defense (DoD) standardization of scanning second-generation thermal imaging systems. The DoD has established a family of SADAs to fulfill a range of performance requirements for various platforms. The SADA consists of the Infrared Focal Plane Array (IRFPA), Dewar, Command & Control Electronics (C&CE), and the cryogenic cooler, and is used in platforms such as the Apache helicopter, the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank, the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and the Javelin Command Launch Unit (CLU).
In support of the family of SADAs, the DoD defined a complementary family of tactical linear drive cryocoolers. The Stirling cycle linear drive cryocoolers are utilized to cool the Infrared Focal Plane Arrays (IRFPAs) in the SADAs. These coolers are required to have low input power, a quick cool-down time, low vibration output, low audible noise, and a higher reliability than currently fielded rotary coolers. These coolers must also operate in a military environment with its inherent high vibration level and temperature extremes.
This paper will (1) outline the characteristics of each cryocooler, (2) present the status and results of qualification tests, (3) present the status of production efforts, and (4) present the status of efforts to increase linear drive cooler reliability.