Impact of Hypersonic Flight Environment on Electro-Optic/Infrared (EO/IR) Sensors

Period of Performance: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

MZA Assoc. Corp.
2021 Girard Blvd. SE, Suite 150 Array
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Notre Dame
940 Grace Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: MZA partnered with the University of Notre Dame proposes to extend MZAs WaveTrain wave-optics sensor simulation framework to model EO/IR sensors operating on hypersonic aircraft. ?Following the methods we have developed for aero-optical imaging through subsonic, transonic, and supersonic flows, existing WaveTrain libraries will be expanded to include hypersonic flow, shocks, thermal effects, and window loading aberration models. ?Optical measurements in Notre Dames hypersonic wind tunnel will be used as a basis for aero-optical phase screen models which will be validated in comparison with test data. ?These hypersonic aero-optical models will be incorporated into new WaveTrain components allowing for time-domain simulations of EO/IR sensors. ?We will produce initial sensor simulations using these extended libraries to illustrate the modeling techniques, and to conduct example parameter sensitivity studies. ?The models will accurately represent radiometry for a given waveband selection, and accurate signal-to-noise (SNR) modeling using scene generation from standard DoD signature codes. ?We will apply existing adaptive-optics (AO) compensation models in WaveTrain to assess mitigation capabilities for hypersonic effects on EO/IR sensors with conventional and advanced AO methods. ?We will also address non-optical methods for mitigating sensor degradations due to hypersonic flow.; BENEFIT: The proposed Phase I project leverages significant investment by the Air Force and other DoD agencies in development of the WaveTrain wave-optics simulation framework for imaging and laser applications on military aircraft. ?Since WaveTrain has been used extensively for sensor modeling, the image formation, degradation, and optical mitigation methods already exist in this framework. ?Furthermore, WaveTrain has also been used for including subsonic, transonic, and supersonic flow effects in military aircraft sensor simulations. ?Validation of simulation methods for these regimes will facilitate extension to hypersonic platforms. ?WaveTrain simulations of EO/IR sensors including the newly-developed hypersonic effects libraries will enable government researches to rapidly assess engineering trade-offs between sensor bands and determine resolution capabilities of advanced sensors given aperture constraints. ?The extension of the WaveTrain simulation tool to hypersonic sensors will improve the commercial value of MZAs product as industry partners will be able to virtually test new sensor designs in a simulated hypersonic environment. ?MZA will also be able to demonstrate via simulation the value of its adaptive optics systems and deformable mirrors as upgrades to existing military EO/IR sensor technologies.