Multi-Use Laser Sensors for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

Period of Performance: 10/21/2011 - 07/25/2012

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

B.e. Meyers & CO. Inc.
14540 NE 91st Street
Redmond, WA 98052
Principal Investigator

Abstract

ABSTRACT: A subminiature laser sensor system operating at 1550 nm for use on micro-class unmanned air vehicles (UAV) is proposed. The system can be electronically reconfigured to function as a: laser designator, laser spot tracker, laser range finder and a proximity sensor. This modular system occupies less than 4 cubic inches and has a range of 0.5 km 2.5 km in a slightly larger version. A passive Q-switched laser is used as the optical source. The high amount of pulse jitter of such lasers is reduced by more than an order of magnitude to acceptable levels through electronic and optical means. The reduced jitter is a result of rapid change of the laser cavity loss/gain, and causes Q-switching to occur at a precisely defined time. BENEFIT: An electronically configurable subminiature eye-safe Q-switched laser system (designator and/or rangefinder) will find wide use on micro-class UAVs in ISR environments. It s small size, low cost and extreme ruggedness also allows it to be used in SWaP constrained applications other than UAVs. The 1550nm wavelength makes it safe for the war fighter and also allows it to be used in future civilian UAV environments. Such a flexible electro-optical system could also be integrated with small Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) to improve their detection/marking capabilities.