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The program was sponsored by the US Army as a candidate for its Future
Force Warrior program. Reportedly, ITT had reached the low volume
fielding phase for an unstated quantity of this device in 2008.
DARPA has a project called Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System
(CT2WS) that proposes to access neural processes of a soldier involved in
surveillance and target detection and to combine them in a suitable soldier
portable E-O device.
A composite software/human in the loop algorithm is used to produce high
fidelity detection data with an extremely low false alarm rate. If achievable,
the new device would not add to a soldier’s existing workload or the mass of
the carried equipment. The first stage of the program was scheduled to run
between 2007-2011 and under a NCW capability subject.
SUPPLIERS OF IMAGE INTENSIFIER TUBES.
The I 2 tube is the clever bit of technology in NV devices - the rest is proven
optics and packaging. An I2 tube typically costs between US$ 2,000-4,000.
• Radar. There are a very large number of manufacturers of man-portable
radars for battlefield operation, among them the U.S. MSTAR that is a
reference system. The principal features of a battlefield man-portable radar
include portability, remote control, solid state design, Low Probability
of Intercept, 20km range (typical), high azimuth and range resolution,
automatic target detection and classification, moving target detection and
classification and threat detection in dense jungle vegetation. This last
feature designates the radar to be in the Foliage Penetration (FOPEN) class.
• Cooled Thermal Imaging (TI) systems. Believed to have originated in
Germany during WWII in an attempt to detect allied bombers, countless
funds have been spent on maximising the yield of this technology.
TI systems are passive in operation and generally function in the 3-30
micron wavelengths of the light spectrum. They detect thermal energy
emitted in the above band from radiating objects. The lower energy level
detection limit is because the radiating object must radiate more energy than
is radiated by the thermal background. The temperature difference between
these two sources may be as low as 0.1deg.C . The upper limit is directly
radiated sunlight from which a detector is protected by an automatic shutter.
The effectiveness of TI systems is significantly affected by atmospheric
conditions, such as dust, fog, low cloud and aerosols, but otherwise they
operate continuously from daylight through complete darkness. TI systems
are not easily jammed, except by laser light.
Detection of thermal energy relies on the fact that certain alloys of metal
combinations produce an electrical output and today two widely used
detector materials are Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) and Indium
Antimonide (InSb) alloys. MCT appears to be the favoured material and it
is sensitive in the 3-5 micron band. Current detector architecture is based
on producing a two-dimensional Focal Plane Staring Array that consists
of a number of detector elements deposited as a matrix structure on a
silicon substrate. Minute spaces between detector elements provide physical
separation of them and carry wiring. FPAs are manufactured using the
latest production methods for microprocessor chips. A typical FPA limit is
considered to be 1000 x 1000 elements, or pixels.
Incoming thermal energy gathered by the object lens is optically focussed
on the array and a quantum of it is detected by each detector in the array. The
output of each detector is a discrete voltage that is clocked out serially into
a register or store. The contents of the register are clocked out and further
processed to provide a continuous viewable video image of the scene, without
colour. Signal processing provides a wide range of imagery for display under
operator or automatic control. Of critical importance to the operation of this
group of detectors is that they must be continuously cooled by a cryogenic
cooler in a sealed Dewar to temperatures between 60-100K.
The demand for advanced detector elements is driving the development
of dual-band systems and detector operation at higher temperatures without
degrading sensitivity. If successful, this latter development will significantly
reduce the size of the cooling engine and its power needs with a concomitant
improvement in a field portable device.
• Uncooled Thermal Imaging systems. Systems using uncooled detectors are
based on the use of pyroelectric and ferroelectric materials. The detectors
are assembled in an array similar to cooled systems but they operate at
room temperature. Incident thermal energy arriving on a detector causes a
change in resistance, voltage or current, depending on the type of detector,
which is then processed to form imagery. The resolution and image quality
of uncooled arrays is lower than is achievable with cooled detectors, but
they are cheaper to make and more reliable. Widely used commercially,
development of the device to improve performance continues.
Interestingly in the 1970s DSTO developed an uncooled detector (bolometer)
but lack of support to further develop and produce the device literally resulted
in the technology being given away to the UK.
REMOTELY OPERATED BATTLEFIELD SENSOR SYSTEMS.
There is a range of these systems to meet a wide range of applications. But the
“system of choice” is probably the US Army’s Improved Remotely Monitored
Battlefield Sensor System (IREMBASS) as it will provide reliable surveillance
of any defined area. The system uses a number of mixed technology sensors,
including magnetic, seismic/acoustic, IR and meteorological. Once laid
and energised the sensors are automatic in operation and if breaches of a
protected area are detected they are reported by radio to a remote control
position. Typical detection range of the sensors is: Personnel 3-350m,
Wheeled vehicle: 15-250m, Tracked vehicle 25-350m. Current sensors are
designed to remain fully operational for 30 hours, but operational time is
dependent on the sensor’s energy demand and type of storage battery used.
System integrity is of paramount importance and extraneous sensor radiation
and network operability to a reporting station are controlled to a high degree.
LAND 53 NINOX
• The NINOX NFE Replacement Project has been
delayed for some time due possibly to a changed
timescale, but probably more likely to be due to
the continuous development of the technologies
employed that make a firm selection difficult.
• The NINOX NFE Replacement Project may also
be suffering from the higher priority LAND 125,
which evidently should be mandated to use
NINOX products or vice versa. The Army should
not be confronted with two types of systems
w ith a generally common requirement.
• It is clear that UAV technology is relevant to
the success of the subject and its omission
disadvantages this project.
• Whilst Australian Industry does not have the
capability to develop and manufacture the core
devices used today it does have the capability
to integrate the products into the ADF’s
operational and NCW philosophies. APDR
9/29/2011 12:38:56 PM
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