Another Step in Ramping up Uncooled Sensors
Multi-megapixel infrared imaging at room temperature for wafer-level scalable FPAs at low-cost
Active Protection Systems (APS) for armored vehicles are becoming a necessity as rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-armor munitions become more effective against even the best armor. In APS systems an incoming round is detected and tracked and a counter munition is fired to destroy the round before it can damage the vehicle.
In the most recent systems, infrared FPAs are being used.
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The system is making use of custom-designed FPAs
The Alternative Infrared Satellite System (AIRSS) program has become a follow-on to SBIRS High
The Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program for developing a robust mid-course ballistic missile interceptor is moving to a prototype seeker that will be able to track multiple targets and then guide multiple kill vehicles to destroy them.
Imaging lead salt FPAs are poised to make a comeback for niche military applications after having almost disappeared from view.
Last month the U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows) a 20 month $6.1 million contract to continue development on a two-color uncooled, midwave, Lead Selenide (PbSe) Passive Infrared Cueing System (PICS).
Manufacturers of uncooled microbolometers are racing to develop and introduce focal plane arrays with 17 micron pixels. The smaller size pixels are seen by producers as a way to differentiate their products and as a path to lower cost and higher volume markets.
BAE Systems is opening a new 33,000 square foot electro-optics/infrared Sensor Technology Design Center to support military products based on the company’s VOx microbolometers.
BAE Systems has completed the first test of an autonomous landing system intended for large mobility and transport aircraft. The test demonstrated the system’s ability to enhance pilot vision in a simulated zero-visibility landing scenario.
BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems has been awarded a five-year IDIQ contract for up to 6,500 uncooled TIM1500 modules for use in the CROWS II (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station) made by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS.
DRS Technologies is seeking to put an end to its Thermal Weapon Sight woes after having suspended shipments of TWS II for over five months due to a boresighting problem.
BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems has won an advanced technology demonstration award for the Digital Enhanced Night Vision Goggle, ENVG(D).
The U.S. Army has awarded contracts for the Thermal Weapon Sight II (TWS) Bridge, which is the largest uncooled program to date.
The U.S. Army’s effort to keep pushing the performance of uncooled sensor technology is again bearing fruit. All four contractors developing ultra-small pixel uncooled microbolometers have demonstrated 640 x 480 focal plane arrays with 17 µm pixels in thermal weapon sights.
BAE Systems E&IS Sensor Systems has been awarded a $6.1 million 21-month contract to develop a DAS (Distributed Aperture System) for U.S. Army combat vehicles. The system is intended to provide the driver and crew members of armored vehicles with unprecedented situational awareness.
The Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) made by BAE Systems IR Imaging Systems have completed qualification testing by the U.S. Army.
Although the U.S. Army’s TWS II program using high performance 25 µm pixel uncooled VOx microbolometers (640 x 480 and 320 x 240) is just getting started, the next-generation, with 17 µm pixels is already getting underway. Under a program funded by PEO Soldier and with the technical monitoring of the Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate, four companies have been selected to develop 640 x 480 microbolometers with 17 µm pixels and deliver two Thermal Weapon Sights and two thermal imaging modules.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s SeeCoast port surveillance program is adding infrared and electro-optic cameras to the Port Security and Monitoring System so as to detect, classify and track vessels.
The U.S. Army’s effort to develop standard interchangeable imaging modules based on uncooled VOx microbolometers went into Phase II with the awarding of contracts to BAE Systems Infrared Imaging Systems, DRS Infrared Technologies and Raytheon Vision Systems in September 2005. Under Phase II of the Uncooled B-Kit (UBK) program, the emphasis is on 640 x 480 pixel imaging modules.
Researchers from the Army Research Laboratory, ARL are teaming with BAE Systems under the Advanced Sensor Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) program to make mid-wave Type II Superlattice (T2SL) focal plane arrays. The semiconductor layers (InAs on a GaSb substrate) were grown by ARL and the FPA processing and hybridization to an Indigo ISC9809 read-out IC (ROIC) were carried out at BAE Systems.