Pentagon seeks to build airborne infrared sensor for ballistic missile defense

By John Keller

WASHINGTON—Leaders of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Washington are trying to develop an airborne infrared sensor system within the next five years that is capable of tracking and intercepting enemy ballistic missiles in boost phase at or near engine burnout.

MDA issued a request for information (RFI) to industry, colleges, and government laboratories to determine the potential for developing airborne infrared (ABIR) sensor capability for fire-control-quality tracking of ballistic missiles at the end of the missiles’ boost phases to support early intercept. Data could be handed off to anti-missile systems like the Airborne Laser.

Missile Defense Agency officials want to be able to counter ballistic missiles like this one with airborne infrared sensors.
Click here to enlarge image

MDA officials want to understand if existing aircraft and infrared sensors could be modified and integrated to create a turreted, pod, or open-cavity airborne infrared system in less than five years to support ballistic missile defense.

First, MDA officials want to know what is the possibility of equipping 15 manned and unmanned aircraft to perform the airborne infrared missile defense mission by 2015.

Next, they want to understand the challenges of mounting a turreted electro-optical/infrared sensor pod as long as 22 inches and as heavy as 260 pounds to a manned or unmanned aircraft.

MDA officials also are interested in an infrared sensor pod for mounting to the tops of aircraft. The sensor pod should measure three feet in diameter, eight feet long, and weigh 1,100 pounds. Sensor pods must not interfere with satellite communications antennas.

For infrared sensors, MDA officials want to know wavebands, clear apertures, fields of view, noise equivalent irradiance, and frame rates, pointing errors, whether inertial measurement gyros are used, angular stabilization of the sensor’s boresight, slew endurance, and settle time.

Concerning sensor processing, MDA officials want to know if suggested sensors have auto trackers able to track targets simultaneously against a uniform background. MDA officials also want to know how suggested sensors behave at altitudes above 35,000 feet.

The MDA contracting officer on this RFI is Elizabeth Moulder, who is available by phone at 256-450-1014, or by e-mail at More information on this request for information is online at

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

SBC-K7 Embedded PC for Instrumentation and Control

The SBC-K7 is an ideal platform for embedded instrumentation that combines an Atom PC running Win...

CPU-PPC460EX-VME Processor Board

The CPU-PPC460EX-VME PowerPC processor board is designed for rugged, conduction and convection co...

PC/104 SBC and Peripherals

Kontron PC/104 Standalone Single Board Computers (SBCs) serve in every format, even with consiste...

General Micro "Horizon" C299

The C299 Horizon is a third generation, 6U cPCI SBC module based on GMS’ upgradable CPU technolog...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

XPort9200 Conduction- or Air-Cooled 12-Channel High-Speed CAN Bus XMC or PMC

The XPort9200 is a conduction- or air-cooled 12-channel CAN bus XMC or PMC module. Each high-spee...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

General Micro Systems Inc

Since 1979, General Micro Systems has been providing the most diverse line of single-board computers in the industry....

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) is a long establish...

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms is a leading global provider of embedded computing systems and modules for a wide range of a...
Wire News provided by   

social activity


Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2015
Volume 26, Issue 2

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles