A nighttime surveillance concept consisting of a single surface omnidirectional mirror assembly and an uncooled Vanadium Oxide (VOx) longwave infrared (LWIR) camera has been developed. This configuration provides a continuous field of view spanning 360° in azimuth and more than 110° in elevation. Both the camera and the mirror are readily available, off-the-shelf, inexpensive products. The mirror assembly is marketed for use in the visible spectrum and requires only minor modifications to function in the LWIR spectrum. The compactness and portability of this optical package offers significant advantages over many existing infrared surveillance systems. The developed system was evaluated on its ability to detect moving, human-sized heat sources at ranges between 10 m and 70 m. Raw camera images captured by the system are converted from rectangular coordinates in the camera focal plane to polar coordinates and then unwrapped into the users azimuth and elevation system. Digital background subtraction and color mapping are applied to the images to increase the users ability to extract moving items from background clutter. A second optical system consisting of a commercially available 50 mm f/1.2 ATHERM lens and a second LWIR camera is used to examine the details of objects of interest identified using the panoramic imager. A description of the components of the proof of concept is given, followed by a presentation of raw images taken by the panoramic LWIR imager. A description of the method by which these images are analyzed is given, along with a presentation of these results side-by-side with the output of the 50 mm LWIR imager and a panoramic visible light imager. Finally, a discussion of the concept and its future development are given.
The U. S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is investigating visible and infrared impact flash signatures of kinetic energy and other munitions. The effort has two phases; one examines the detailed spectral and photometric characteristics of flash from controlled impacts at indoor ranges and is intended to provide a detailed, systematic database about impact signatures, while the second gathers similar impact signatures of U.S. rounds striking potential opponents’ vehicles in the field. In both cases, the signatures are subsequently correlated with high-speed photography and the physical damage created. The results indicate that with minor modifications of basic KE rounds, flash signatures may have the potential to reveal who fired a round and whether it struck, penetrated, or even perforated the target.