Army wants dual-use aircraft infrared sensor for missile warning and situational awareness

FORT BELVOIR, Va. – U.S. Army researchers are surveying industry to find a digital dual-use infrared sensor for Army aircraft that can provide missile warning, as well as high-resolution imagery for pilotage and situational awareness.

Mar 9th, 2017
Army wants dual-use aircraft infrared sensor for missile warning and situational awareness
Army wants dual-use aircraft infrared sensor for missile warning and situational awareness
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – U.S. Army researchers are surveying industry to find a digital dual-use infrared sensor for Army aircraft that can provide missile warning, as well as high-resolution imagery for pilotage and situational awareness.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., issued a source-sought notice earlier this month (W909MY-17-R-J012) for the Digital Dual Use Sensor (DDUS) project.

The DDUS would be a high-pixel-count dual-band infrared sensor module capable of providing high-quality imagery for threat warning and for pilotage and situational awareness applications on future Army helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The Army Contracting Command is issuing this source-sought notice on behalf of the Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Communications and Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center (CERDEC), Night Vision Electronics Sensors Directorate (NVESD) at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Related: Lockheed Martin to build six electro-optical surveillance systems for Navy submarine forces

The goal is to combine into one compact sensor module the imaging ability to detect and locate threats such as ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles via passive thermal imaging, as well as to help pilots navigate in bad weather, at night, and in other degraded-visibility conditions.

This single dual-use electro-optical sensor will require large-format, dual-band infrared imaging sensors and high-frame rate, high dynamic range, multi-function readout integrated circuits (ROICs).

Army researchers point out that integrating these sensor components and image-processing algorithms will require careful management of the engineering design trades for each sensor component.

Specifically, Army researchers are looking for 2,048-by-2,048-pixel medium-wave and long-wave infrared focal plane arrays with pixels smaller than 12 microns. These sensors should have high quantum efficiency, low dark current, and low spatial and spectral pixel crosstalk.

Related: Global demand for military electro-optics and infrared sensors to grow by 40 percent over six years

The readout circuit should match the focal plane array format, with high injection efficiency, low noise, low power dissipation, true full well capacity greater than 8e7 electrons, 18 bits of dynamic range, and non-linearity smaller than 0.1 percent. The ROIC should be linear through the whole dynamic range, and not involve logarithmic compression.

Researchers only are interested in off-the-shelf products, as no development funding is available.

Companies interested should email responses no later than 22 March 2017 to the Army's Jennifer Elkins at jennifer.w.elkins.civ@mail.mil, with a copy to the Army's Michael McFadden at michael.a.mcfadden23.civ@mail.mil.

Email questions or concerns to Elkins and McFadden at the email addresses above. More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/9f7b445a6c9874339a638148b5c4f8fe.

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