BAE Systems to develop advanced digital focal plane array detectors for missile defense

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 23 June 2014. Electro-optics engineers at the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., will design special sensitive infrared sensors to enhance the ability of anti-air missiles to detect, track, and destroy incoming ballistic missile warheads.

Officials of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $9.4 million contract to BAE Systems on Friday to design and fabricate 512-by-512-pixel two-color high speed digital focal plane arrays.

Digital focal plane array detectors often are used in longwave infrared detectors that are designed specially to detect the hot plumes of missiles, as well as the heat from ballistic missile warheads re-entering the atmosphere.

Hot missile plumes or the heated bodies of re-entering ballistic missile warheads against the relative cool of the sky are ideal environments for detection and interdiction in ballistic missile defense.

Related: Army night-vision researchers look to Raytheon to develop advanced IR focal plane arrays

MDA officials are asking BAE Systems to design digital focal plane arrays with a combination of high resolution, high frame rate and advanced digital processing power.

BAE will deliver five digital focal plane arrays of the baseline development run and three digital focal plane arrays of the baseline process verification run to the MDA for additional testing.

The contract includes a set of interface electronics, and a user guide to facilitate testing, MDA officials say.

Related: Army looks to Teledyne Scientific to refine infrared focal plane array night-vision technology

BAE Systems has options to design n updated read-out integrated circuit, capitalizing on developments of this program, and qualifying digital focal plane arrays to the MDA’s High Altitude Exoatmospheric Nuclear Survivability Standard.

On this program, engineers at the DRS Technologies Imaging and Targeting Solutions (ITS) segment in Dallas also are developing a two-color focal plane array for missile defense applications.

On the contract announced Friday, BAE Systems will do the work in Lexington, Mass., and in Camarillo, Calif., and should be finished by January 2017. For more information contact BAE Systems Electronic Systems online at, or the Missile Defense Agency at

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