Small Aircraft Self Protection

Period of Performance: 03/15/2004 - 11/15/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Panx Imaging, Inc.
5 King Rail Lane
Hilton Head, SC 29926
Principal Investigator


U.S. military forces are in the precarious situation of being significantly fewer in number yet more widely deployed than at anytime since the start of the Cold War. Our potential foes are; more numerous, widely dispersed, and possess a wide spectrum of weapons technologies. To counter this predicament, we increasingly rely upon effective force-shaping/force-multiplying technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). UAVs have successfully provided extended duration mission support, persistent sensor presence, and much-needed standoff to military campaigns UAVs are a recognized, invaluable and irreplaceable component of modern warfare. Countering the UAV advantage are evermore-sophisticated enemy anti-aircraft systems that difficult to detect and defeat by conventional methods. Correspondingly, these anti-aircraft-missile detection and guidance systems are often no longer purely radar, optical, or infrared-sensor based, but complex hybrids of complimentary techniques, technologies and counter-to-counter measures. Defeating the underlying detection, tracking, and guidance systems is quickly approaching the impossible. Future UAV survival will be predicated upon the ability of UAV self-protection suites to directly detect, engage and destroy approaching anti-aircraft missiles. PanX Imaging Incorporated proposes development of an innovative sensor technology as the basis of a UAV anti-missile defensive system. Our approach is a low risk, high payoff extension of our proven, patented optical sensor technology and would provide multiple, simultaneous, precise detection, tracking and flight-path prediction of airborne missiles anywhere within a 4Pi steradian coverage area. Intended for cueing an expendable counter-missile sub-munition, and suitable for incorporation aboard other small aircraft, our lightweight, compact sensor technology tightly integrates a precision geometric cluster of optical sensors, features no moving parts and offers very high reliability with low cost.