Pentagon eyes improved optoelectronic sensors for missile defense

Sept. 1, 2005
U.S. missile-defense experts are trying to improve optoelectronic sensor technologies for ballistic missile defense.

By John Keller

SAN DIEGO - U.S. missile-defense experts are trying to improve optoelectronic sensor technologies for ballistic missile defense.

To do this they are looking to designers at Trex Enterprises Corp. in San Diego. Trex won a maximum $48.6 million contract from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in July for optoelectronic sensor research.

Trex Enterprises specializes in applied physics research, including optoelectronic, acoustic, and infrared imaging and targeting-tracking systems, signal processing, and adaptive optics.

The company manufactures CMOS HDTV/large-array active-pixel image sensors, MEMS systems, RF and optical communications systems for last-mile and airborne applications, and advanced materials.

For this MDA contract, Trex designers are to develop novel optoelectronic sensor technologies with improved spectral response, increased detection capability, increased resolution, and enhanced tracking and target-selection capabilities.

Trex will develop advanced radar technologies to improve system robustness, reduce cost, and enhance radar performance parameters for all-weather missile tracking.

The effort will focus on increasing communications data rates to maintain full compatibility, improve in-network security and speed, and increase transmission ranges in all operational conditions to improve size, weight, power, and costs.

Trex experts will explore developing new materials for missiles and satellites that reduce the weight and improve the reliability of components such as optics, sensors, and seekers.

Trex also develops passive millimeter-wave cameras; wind-speed and wire-strike sensors for helicopters; ground stations for imaging satellites in geostationary and low-Earth orbits; adaptive optical systems for large telescopes; bullet trackers for sniper detection; missile-intercept optical tracking and imaging equipment; advanced application-specific integrated circuits; CMOS active pixel sensors; and advanced materials for ceramic mirrors and semiconductor manufacturing ballistics.

For more information contact Trex Enterprises at

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