Seeker For Small Agile Munitions

Period of Performance: 07/17/2013 - 04/16/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: To address the Air Force need for a wide-field-of-view seeker combining multiwaveband infrared imaging and semiactive laser (SAL) guidance in a gimbal-free concept, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new ultrawide-field-of-view Seeker for Small Agile Munitions (S4SAM). The proposed S4SAM includes image, SAL, and navigation modules, an avionics processor, and a power source. The S4SAM mimics a vertebrate eye, which both provides ultrawide field of regard for target detection and narrow field of interest for high-resolution target identification. This approach allows us to minimize the trade-off between ultrawide field of view against effective resolution. The S4SAM operates in the short-wave and midwave infrared wavebands, which exploits disparate physical phenomena between reflective and thermally emitted target signatures, maximizing the probability of correct target identification in highly cluttered urban terrain. The precision autonomous and SAL guidance is supported by new computationally efficient algorithms embedded in the avionics processor. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of the S4SAM by laboratory prototyping and mission analysis to predict system performance. In Phase II, POC plans to develop a full-scale compact and power-efficient seeker capable of being controlled by both autonomous closed-loop guidance and a human-operated laser designator. BENEFIT: The proposed S4SAM will not only address the major Air Force requirements for precise target tracking and enhanced target recognition, but also can be adopted by other military air, land, and sea autonomous vehicles where payload size, weight, and power are at a premium. The improved sensor stabilization enables such platforms to produce 3D imagery, which is becoming vital to various DoD and commercial applications involving surveillance, situational awareness, tracking, navigation, and aiming for missiles, cruise missiles, and artillery shells, drastically reducing setup and maintenance costs, and computational complexity too. Successful completion of the S4SAM development will also bring benefits to imaging LADAR and free-space communication. Significant commercial applications of the S4SAM technology are expected as a result of advantages in terms of coverage and cost. Laser alignment systems have been used in many ways, such as in the construction of pipelines, nuclear particle accelerators, and many assembly jobs where precise positioning is mandatory.