Hostile Fire Indicator for Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Period of Performance: 07/03/2013 - 10/07/2015


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Solid State Scientific Corp.
27-2 Wright Road
Hollis, NH 03049
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Solid State Scientific Corporation (SSSC) is pleased to propose the development and demonstration of a wide area (WA) multi-threat hostile fire indication (HFI) system for remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA). The HFI system consists of a comparatively wide field of view sensor that employs miniature optics and a custom short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera based on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) focal plane array (FPA). The spectral band of operation, in the SWIR, is selected specifically for detection of a broad class of weapons including artillery fire, surface-to-air missiles, man-portable missiles (MANPADS), and even rocket-propelled grenades (RPG s), mortars, and smaller arms fire. The system will feature innovative extensions of recently-developed HFI capabilities, based on the findings of the successful Phase I study, to allow detection of energetic battlefield events from RPAs at altitudes of 15,000 25,000 ft., with subsequent cueing of existing fine-tracker or high-resolution imaging systems. For detection and discrimination of targets, the wide area hostile fire indication system will also capitalize on existing algorithm strategies based on spectral-temporal data already obtained by SSSC, suitably modified for the desired targets of interest and the operating conditions of the RPA. In order to integrate with existing sensor pods without A-kit changes, the Phase II imager will remain uncooled and occupy a small size, weight, and power envelope without a refrigerator. The development of this sensor represents a unique opportunity in the development of advanced aircraft survivability equipment. BENEFIT: The new sensor combines staring imaging technology, miniature imaging optics technology, recent developments in digital signal processing, SWIR detection algorithms designed for other platforms, focal plane array technology, and commercially available products to produce an innovative, wide-area imaging system. The ability of the new sensor to rapidly acquire data in the extended SWIR will provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate algorithms for real-time event detection and classification based on spatial and temporal phenomenology in the SWIR. In addition, the small physical size of the sensor will demonstrate the possibility of miniature imaging as well as the ability to integrate onto airborne platforms. Finally, the sensor will demonstrate the ability to replace larger, heavier, and less-capable systems with a miniature, uncooled sensor, saving size, weight, power, inefficiency, and cost. Specific applications for the proposed sensor include specific reconnaissance and cueing for RPA applications as well as self-protection for pilots and crew of rotorcraft from a broad spectrum of threats including guided missiles, unguided rockets, anti-aircraft artillery, and small arms fire. By combining sensor data with onboard navigation data, the sensor can provide real-time situational awareness, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for other air and ground crew in the vicinity. Other potential applications of the spectral imaging technology for defense purposes include real-time bomb damage assessment, airborne and distant target tracking, and remote chemical analysis of engine exhaust. In addition, we anticipate possible applications in law enforcement, homeland defense, industrial process monitoring, medical diagnostics, and medical imaging.