Annex E. International Armaments Strategy
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


Q. Sensors

The topic of sensors encompasses a wide range of diverse physical phenomena and technology, including seismic/acoustic ground sensors, and electromagnetic sensors in all regions of the spectrum from extremely low frequency magnetic anomaly detection to space-based UV and even shorter wave optical devices. As defined in the ASTMP, sensor technologies also include associated capabilities for acquiring and processing sensor data to derive useful information regarding operating environment and the location, identity and activities of friendly and adversary forces. Table E.II-16 below summarizes capabilities in areas of sensor technology identified in Chapter IV of the ASTMP.

Table E.II-16. Sensors

Q. SENSORS UNITED KINGDOM FRANCE GERMANY OTHER COUNTRIES JAPAN PACIFIC RIM FSU
RADAR SENSORS Optical switching of microwave power Countermine various countries Electronic components   Russia
ELECTROOPTIC SENSORS Optical processing IRFPA, laser sensors, multidomain sensors   Netherlands Photonic devices    
ACOUSTIC, MAGNETIC, AND SEISMIC SENSORS Seismic Seismic   Israel acoustic sensors      
AUTOMATIC TARGET RECOGNITION SENSORS Signal processing Signal processing Combat ID Signal processing Israel Target recognition, Signal processing Signal and image processing    
INTEGRATED PLATFORM ELECTRONICS Vehicle integration Multisensor integration Vehicle integration        

The US has traditionally enjoyed a strong lead in military radar systems, particularly in the area of electronically steerable phased array radars. The UK, France, Germany, and to a lesser extent Japan and Israel all have significant capabilities and niches of excellence. Selected highlights of these capabilities include: power generation of optical distribution and switching of microwave energy (France); target characterization (Israel) and microwave integrated circuits and components (Germany and UK)

France is recognized as a world leader in state-of-the-art IR focal plane arrays; Japanese CCD technology dominates consumer electronics markets, and may provide leveraging opportunities in the future. Most modern armies have some ongoing work in battlefield acoustic sensors, with no one country having a dominant capability. Similarly most countries have active development programs aimed at enhancing ATR capabilities. Underlying feature extraction and pattern recognition algorithms are common topics of academic research. At the same, adaptation of these algorithms for effective military use demands access to specific target and threat characteristics. This information closely held by all nations to protect sensitive collection methods and sources. Japan, is highlighted because of their extensive work in visual systems for industrial robots and in Kanji character recognition. While not directed to military ends, the underlying techniques developed may be of interest.

In addition to a potential direct return in enhanced performance, cooperation in integrated platform electronic technologies will contribute to standardization and interoperability of coalition forces. As one would expect, those countries most advanced in development and production of advanced military vehicles (UK, France, and Germany) offer the best potential for cooperative efforts in this area.

These technologies and the opportunities highlighted below also support DTAP Sensor DTOs and JWTSP Information Superiority (which includes sensors for information acquisition and sensor data fusion) and Combat Identification DTO's. Certain of the technologies involved, particularly photonic signal processing initiatives with the UK overlap with, and could directly support advances in optical computing, (II-E.G). The following subsections identify specific opportunities where existing or near-term pending agreements offer significant potential benefits.