The topic of sensors encompasses a wide range of diverse physical phenomena and technology, including seismic/acoustic ground sensors and EM sensors in all regions of the spectrum from extremely low frequency magnetic anomaly detection to spacebased UV and even shorter wave optical devices. As defined in the ASTMP, sensor technologies also include associated capabilities for acquiring and processing sensor data to derive useful information regarding operating environment and the location and identity and activities of friendly and adversary forces. Table E20 below summarizes capabilities in areas of sensor technology identified in Volume I, Chapter IV of the ASTMP.
Table E20. International Research CapabilitiesSensors
|Radar Sensors||Optical switching of microwave power||Electronic components|
|ElectroOptic Sensors||Optical processing||IR FPA; laser sensors; multidomain sensors||Photonic devices; laser applications||Netherlands
|Acoustic, Magnetic, & Seismic Sensors|| Acoustic sensors
|Automatic Target Recognition Sensors||Signal processing; combat ID||Signal processing; combat ID||Combat ID; signal processing||Signal & image processing||Israel
Target recognition; signal processing
|Integrated Platform Electronics||Vehicle integration||Multisensor integration||Vehicle integration|
|Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.|
a. Radar Sensors
Radar is the primary sensor for allweather detection of air, ground, and subsurface targets. It includes wide area surveillance radars, tactical reconnaissance radars, and airborne and ground fire control radars. Areas of special interest involve the phenomenology of UWB SAR to enable detection and classification of stationary targets that are subsurface or concealed by foliage or camouflage. Foliage penetration and ground penetration systems are the major goal. Major technical challenges include understanding wave propagation in background/clutter environments, development of highpower, lowfrequency, and wideband system capability, and development of components and algorithms to support highprobability detection and classification with low false alarm rates. Specific technical issues relate to:
Real beam search onthemove targeting against stationary ground targets
Affordability is a major issue for all sensors because they are so prevalent on the battlefield.
The United States has traditionally enjoyed a strong lead in military radar systems, particularly in the area of electronically steerable phased array radars. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and to a lesser extent, Japan and Israel all have significant capabilities and niches of excellence. Noteworthy highlights include Frances expertise in optical distribution and switching of microwave energy, and Japans world leadership position in electronic components. MMIC components are especially important for MMW radars and the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan all have strong capabilities in this area of technology.
b. ElectroOptic Sensors
EO sensors provide passive/covert and active target acquisition (detection, classification, recognition, identification) of military targets and also allow military operations under all battlefield conditions. Platforms include combat personnel, ground combat and support vehicles, tactical rotarywing aircraft, manned/unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and ballistic missile defense (BMD)/theater missile defense.
Major technical challenges include:
Growth and processing of thinfilm materials for uncooled detectors
EO sensors are playing an increasingly important role in weapons systems of all kinds. The U.S. is certainly a leader in most areas, however, other countries have significant capabilities that could be beneficial.
France is recognized as a world leader in stateoftheart IR FPAs. Their work on HgCdTe largearea staring arrays could be important for future multidomain smart sensors. ARL and scientists from LETI (Grenoble, France) are cooperating to develop techniques to grow buffer layers on Si that would allow integration of the HgCdTe detectors and Si readout in much larger arrays. A new technique is being investigated that promises far lower defects for much larger arrays. France also has special capabilities in short wavelength (visible and UV) lasers that are very important for some optical countermeasures and standoff biological agent detection. Appropriate laser media are required to take full advantage of advances in laser diodes and diode pumping technologies. The Université de Lyon has special expertise in highly efficient laser emission and extensive knowledge of UVemitting materials.
Japan is a world leader in all aspects of photonics and is strongly positioned in laser applications. Their CC&D technology dominates consumer electronics and may provide leveraging opportunities in the future for military applications. Germany has made significant progress in processing IR images and in multisensor integration. At the Fraunkofer Institute in Freiburg, considerable research efforts are conducted in quantum well and superlattice materials for detectors spanning the spectral region from UV to longwave IR.
The U.K. has special expertise in optical processing, optical components, and optoelectronics. Photonic processors using this technology offer inherently high bandwidth, compactness, power efficiency, and immunity to EM interference. The noninterfering nature of light and its propagation characteristics lend themselves to future massively parallel, highspeed information processing. Finally, the Netherlands has special capabilities in thirdgeneration image intensification that could be of value.
c. Acoustic, Magnetic, and Seismic Sensors
Acoustic, magnetic, and seismic sensors provide realtime tracking and target identification for a variety of battlefield ground and air targets. Advances in digital signal processing devices and algorithms have lead to significant improvements in acoustic sensors making them more feasible and affordable. Attended and unattended systems are of interest and find application against both continuous signals (such as engine noise) and impulsive signals (such as gun shots). Acoustic sensors involve the use of microphone arrays to detect, locate, track, and identify air and ground targets at tactical ranges. Target information from multiple acoustic sensor arrays is digitally transmitted to a remote central location for realtime battlefield monitoring. Enhanced hearing for individual soldiers is another important area and techniques to extend the soldiers longrange hearing and frequency response are being developed.
Technical challenges include:
Advanced target identification algorithms
Most modern armies have some ongoing work in battlefield acoustic sensors, with no one country having a dominant capability. The U.K. and France offer strong capabilities related to seismic sensors and Israel provides unique opportunities in acoustic sensors. Current efforts in acoustics include adaptive beamforming algorithms, sound cancellation techniques, and neural network algorithms for target identification. Israel has been developing advanced helicopter detection, sniper, and mortar location systems based on acoustic sensing. The United States has been conducting joint exercises with the Israeli Army and future cooperation will provide potential solutions to acoustic propagation problems, longrange target detection algorithms, and detection in the presence of wind and platform noise.
d. Automatic Target Recognition Sensors
The goal of ATR is to provide sensors with the capability to recognize and identify targets under realworld battlefield conditions. ATR systems will allow weapons systems to automatically identify targets (and friendly forces), which will increase lethality, reduce the number of costly weapons used, and eliminate or reduce the cost and tragedy of losses from friendly fire. The technical challenge is to provide high identification rates with very few false alarms for a large number of target classes. Supporting technologies include processors, algorithms, and development tools, including M&S. Current efforts focus on single and multiple sensor ATR algorithm development.
Most countries have active development programs aimed at enhancing ATR capabilities. Underlying feature extraction and pattern recognition algorithms are common topics of academic research. Adaptation of these algorithms for effective military use demands access to specific target and threat characteristics, information that is closely held by all nations to protect sensitive collection methods and sources. Several areas are of special interest for possible cooperative efforts. Japan has done extensive work in visual systems for industrial robots and in Kanji character recognition. While not directed to military ends, the underlying techniques may be of interest. The U.K., France, and Germany all have strong capabilities in signal processing for ATR and combat ID, and are close enough allies to share some sensitive target/threat information. Germany has particular expertise in combat identification of friendly troops that is very important for reducing fratricide and improving situational awareness. The laser technology being pursued by Germany is of special interest. France has special expertise in ATR algorithms for use in multisensor (forwardlooking IR, MMW, and possibly laser radar) systems that could be helpful in developing realtime multisensor techniques. In addition, Israel has strong capabilities in target characterization that could be applicable to a number of efforts, including signature measurements in radar/MMW, signature rendering in the visual and IR, and target acquisition modeling for imaging IR sensors. The United States has held a cooperative Signature Work Shop with Israel that covered a number of areas associated with ATR. This included topics on characterization of target/clutter, synthetic scene generation modeling, as well as target acquisition model enhancement, dynamic measurements using super highresolution MMW, and model validation.
e. Integrated Platform Electronics
Integrated platform electronics (IPE) focuses on the integration technologies, disciplines, standards, tools, and components to physically and functionally integrate and fully exploit electronic systems on airborne, (helicopters, remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), and fixed wing), ground, and human platforms. IPE can result in dramatic cost and weight savings while providing full mission capability. The major technical challenge lies in determining an architecture that is sufficiently robust to readily accept technology commercial innovations. Improving reliability is always an important challenge that can lead to reduced logistics and deployment burdens while containing support costs. In addition, standardized image compression techniques and architectures are of current interest to permit transfer of images with sufficient clarity and update rates to support digitization of the battlefield.
Cooperation in this area leads not only to enhanced performance but also contributes to standardization and interoperability of coalition forces. As one would expect, those countries most advanced in development and production of advanced military vehicles offer the best potential for cooperative efforts. The U.K. and Germany have special capabilities in vehicle integration that is of interest and France has special expertise in multisensor integration that is relevant to IPE.
AMC POC: Dr. Rodney Smith
Army Materiel Command
5001 Eisenhower Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 223330001
email: [email protected]
IPOC: Mr. Stephen Cohn
Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Road
Adelphi, MD 207831197
email: [email protected]
For ATR sensors:
IPOC: Mr. Richard Pei
U.S. Army CECOM
Ft. Monmouth, NJ 07703
email: [email protected]
For rotorcraft integrated electronics (IPE):
IPOC: Mr. Dennis Earley
U.S. Army AMCOM
St. Louis, MO 631201798
email: [email protected]
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