DARPA releases solicitation for MIST-IR long-range 3D imaging technology project

ARLINGTON, Va., 15 Feb. 2012. Electro-optics scientists at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., released a formal solicitation Monday for the Military Imaging and Surveillance Technology - Long Range (MIST-LR) program (DARPA-BAA-12-22), which seeks to develop fundamentally new avionics and vetronics electro-optic sensors for target identification and tracking.

The MIST-LR program focuses on long-range geometric and 3-D imaging technology for characterizing targets beyond the physical-aperture diffraction-limit of the receiver system. The program will concentrate on new sensor methods and techniques based on computational imaging, synthetic-aperture imaging, digital holography, multi-static laser radar, and angle-resolved imaging based on light transport analysis.

DARPA will brief industry on the MIST-IR program on 23 Feb. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Schafer Corp., 3811 North Fairfax Dr., Suite 300, in Arlington, Va., to provide information on the MIST program, promote discussion, take questions, and give companies a chance to present their capabilities. Register for the industry briefings by email to BAA-12-22@darpa.mil with the subject line "Proposers' Day Workshop Registration." A secret clearance is required to attend.

The DARPA MIST-LR program seeks to develop new sensor methods and techniques based on computational imaging, synthetic-aperture imaging, digital holography, multi-static laser radar, and angle-resolved imaging based on light transport analysis.

Optical sensors available today can help identify targets, but their sizes and operational ranges can be limiting, DARPA officials say. The MIST-LR program seeks to develop new sensing methods that address physical aperture of the imaging receiver, the effects of atmospheric turbulence, performance of the receiver array, the power of the illumination source, and the image formation algorithms are the primary defining characteristics of active imaging systems.

Technical areas of emphasis in the program are image resolution-2D and 3D; system link-budget and image signal-to-noise ratio; image quality, contrast, and the ability for automated identification; maximum relative target motion; image acquisition and processing time; image field of regard and range depth; image size and coverage rate; image frame rate; transceiver targeting and steering; target recognition; differential scene motion for detection; system size, weight, and power requirements; compensation of turbulence effects; and manufacturability and affordability.

The MIST-LR program consists of three technical areas -- each focusing on a different platform and range to target, and each of which will be considered as a distinct effort, with separate design and development. Proposals to the BAA are to be based only on the Phase 1 program goals.

The first phase of the MIST-IR program involves a formal preliminary design, at the system and subsystem level to establish the basis for a detailed design; experimental and simulation data validating the concept, approach, and link budget; demonstration of critical hardware and software subsystems; phenomenology measurements; evidence that the proposed designs can be manufactured affordably; and written descriptions of the architecture, design, and subsystems.

Phase 2 will complete the system and subsystems design, and integrate components into one laboratory system to emulate a small-scale imaging capability, as well as demonstrate processing and control software for final system designs. Phase 3 will develop and demonstrate a prototype package on an aircraft or ground test range.

Companies interested in bidding on the MIST-IR program should respond no later than 12 April 2012, by e-mail to BAA-12-22@darpa.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=5d6a693963dfc9086350d655deafc135&tab=core&_cview=0.

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