Terahertz fiber optic test system for F-35 jet fighter stealth surfaces to be developed by Picometrix

ANN ARBOR, Mich., 7 Jan. 2010. Military photonics experts at Picometrix LLC in Ann Arbor, Mich., are developing a photonic test system for the U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under terms of a $3 million Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) phase-2 Air Force contract, announced today.

Posted by John Keller

ANN ARBOR, Mich., 7 Jan. 2010.Military photonics experts at Picometrix LLC in Ann Arbor, Mich., are developing a fiber optic test system for the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under terms of a $3 million Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) phase-2 Air Force contract, announced today.

Picometrix experts will develop a prototype terahertz quality fiber optic handheld scanner based on the Picometrix fiber-coupled T-Ray 4000 photonics instrument to ensure proper fit of the radar-evading coated exterior surfaces of the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter. Picometrix is a subsidiary of Advanced Photonix Inc.

The contract continues feasibility research that Picometrix finished in 2009. If successful, the phase-2 dedicated T-Ray 4000 prototype system would lead to deployment of several production electro-optical systems in phase-3, company officials say.

The U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marines, and U.S. allies say they plan to buy more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft from 2013 through 2035. The F-35 will have a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities, and advanced sustainment.

The handheld scanner that Picometrix develops under this contract will be a plug-in accessory to the system, making it an option for the company's T-Ray 4000 instrument. The scanner could be used for any aircraft, and could be adapted for other applications such as measuring coating thickness, subsurface inspection, surface topography measurements, measurement of coating tapers, and coating cure states.

A handheld scanner could also be applicable for homeland security applications such as airport personnel scanning for explosives and suicide bombers, Picometrix officials say. For more information contact Picometrix online at www.picometrix.com.

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