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Proceedings Paper

Military reconnaissance platform for the spectral range from the visible to the MWIR
Author(s): M. Gerken; J. Fritze; M. Münzberg; M. Weispfenning
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Paper Abstract

The reconnaissance capability of a military observation and targeting platform is mainly driven by the performance of the used sensors. In general, the MWIR thermal imager is the primary sensor and the use of a visible camera increases the identification capability of the platform during day for very long observation ranges. In addition to the imaging sensors a laser pointer, a laser rangefinder (LRF), and a combined laser rangefinder/ designator (LRF/D) completes the sensor suite. As LRF a single pulse eye safe rangefinder based on an OPO shifted Nd:YAG transmitter can be used. The alternative LRF/D uses an diode laser pumped dual wavelength OPO/Nd:YAG transmitter and can be operated either at 1570 nm or at 1064 nm with a pulse rate of maximum 25 pps [1].

A MWIR thermal imager [2] with a 1280x1024 MWIR detector and an optical zoom range between 1.2° and 20° horizontal fields of view provides a HD-SDI video stream in the 720p or 1080p standard. A camera build in software image stabilizer and a smart tone mapping algorithm improves the reconnaissance results for the observer.

A combined camera covers the visible, NIR and SWIR spectral range [3] using a common entrance optics. The resolution of the color camera Si-CMOS chip is 1920x1080 and of the InGaAs focal plane array it is 640x512 detector pixel. The combined VIS/NIR/SWIR camera provides improved ranging under hazy and misty atmospheric conditions and also improved detection of laser spots e.g. of the integrated laser designator with high sensitivity in the spectral range between 450 nm up to 1700 nm, most of the military lasers are operating in the NIR and SWIR spectral band [3]. The combination of the sensors in the platform improves significantly the operational use. The application of the described platform is not limited to military scout vehicles, the available sensors are also integrated in a targeting platform with similar performances but other environmental demands.

The possibilities, improvements in comparison of existing platforms and potential upgrades are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2017
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 10177, Infrared Technology and Applications XLIII, 101770C (3 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2264440
Show Author Affiliations
M. Gerken, Airbus Defence and Space (Germany)
J. Fritze, Airbus Defence and Space (Germany)
M. Münzberg, Airbus Defence and Space (Germany)
M. Weispfenning, Airbus Defence and Space (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10177:
Infrared Technology and Applications XLIII
Bjørn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop; Charles M. Hanson; John Lester Miller; Paul R. Norton, Editor(s)

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