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A different approach to focal plane array technology is leading to better and less expensive infrared sensors for a broad range of applications. For users in the battlespace, this development will mean higher resolution images in systems that require less maintenance even in demanding conditions.
The U.S. Defense Department is developing miniaturized infrared detectors and sensors that do not require bulky cooling systems. These devices will be compact enough to fit in small robotic vehicles and microaircraft or will be manportable. The technology also may improve night vision and missile seeking equipment. Recent advances in physics and materials science are moving these devices from the laboratory to the battlefield.
Researchers seek to transition a new detector design.
The first satellite of a long-awaited U.S. Defense Department surveillance and early warning system is back on track to orbit in less than three years. The spacecraft, with sophisticated infrared sensors to detect, track and analyze missiles in flight, is part of a new generation of highly capable spacecraft poised to form the core of the United States' future global surveillance and early warning architecture. Space is the watchtower of modern nations, and reconnaissance and observation platforms are the sentries. Designed to support national and theater ballistic missile defense systems, the new satellites will enhance warfighters' global and regional situational awareness.
The U.S. Army is speeding next-generation imaging systems to the field in response to experiences gleaned in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adversaries waging asymmetric warfare have impelled the Army to improve existing technologies and to seek innovative new capabilities in the field of electro-optics.
A state-owned company's heavy investment in research and development is paying off for Italy's military and in the international export market. This research powerhouse is providing advances in radar, electro-optic, infrared and cryogenic technologies harnessed in a variety of weapons fire control systems.
Ongoing operations that examine the convergence of current U.S. military information-gathering capabilities may lead to enhanced systems that will more effectively combat theater ballistic missile threats. Research underway by the U.S. military focuses on more effectively exploiting the information provided by overhead nonimaging infrared satellites to support naval missions. Looking into the next century, military officials believe that more capable, future satellite sensor systems will enable the next generation of naval warfighting forces to gain the efficiency and effectiveness required to expand their umbrella of operations.
The future infantry soldier, who already is looking at new personal armor and communications systems, also may be equipped with a multisensor system that can provide him with a range of spectral views that can be changed with the flip of a switch. Helmet-mounted sensors would comprise both infrared and image intensifiers, and rifle sights would provide multispectral capability. Information gleaned from these sensors would fuel network-centric operations.
As a first point in the United States' electronic combat test process, researchers strive to re-create electronic warfare accurately to challenge the effectiveness of hardware against hostile threats. A major link in this process is the U.S. Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator in Fort Worth, Texas, which can evaluate defensive systems against most known threats and can respond quickly to newly discovered threats.
Small cameras use smartphone technology to fuse data into high-resolution color images.