News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan



R. SENSORS

1. Scope

By providing critically required military capabilities detailing troop positions, target locations, and battlefield conditions, sensors and information processing technologies form an enabling array of systems on Army platforms. Flexible robust sensor systems have significantly increased Army warfighting capabilities and become a true force multiplier. Sensor technologies depend upon research provided by the Army Research Office (ARO), the RDECs, ARL, and federated partners. This area develops technologies in five subareas: radar sensors; EO sensors; acoustic, magnetic, and seismic sensors; ATR; and integrated platform electronics.

2. Rationale

Sensor technology provides the "eyes and ears" for nearly all Army tactical and strategic weapon systems as well as the intelligence community. Sensors support effective battlefield decision making and contribute to achieving the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) top five future joint warfighting capabilities. Sensors represent a major cost factor for weapon systems, which is addressed in this program. Costs include affordable integrated circuits, ultra–large and multicolor IRFPAs, multifunction multiwavelength lasers, common modules, shared apertures, computer M&S, and adaptive processing. Expected payoffs include 50 percent reduction in cost of imaging radars and IR search track sensors, and 10 to 1 improvement in thermal sensitivity of IR sensors. Sensors are integral and fundamental to achieve situational awareness on the battlefield to win the information war. Because of their pervasiveness, sensors have multiple transitional opportunities, including for the 21st century soldier. Sensors are vital to the survivability of soldiers and the weapon platforms on the battlefield.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Radar Sensors

Goals and Timeframes

Radar is the sensor for all–weather detection of air, ground, and subsurface targets. This subarea includes technology developments involving enhanced and new capabilities associated with wide area surveillance radars, tactical reconnaissance radars, and airborne and ground fire control radars. Objectives include understanding the phenomenology and applications of ultra–wideband (UWB) SAR to enable detection and classification of stationary targets that are subsurface or concealed by foliage or camouflage. This technology would enable development of a foliage penetration (FOPEN) radar capable of real–time image formation in operational scenarios. The system could be expanded to support a ground penetration (GPEN) radar capable of collecting subsurface target data.

A primary goal is the R&D of affordable battlefield fire control radar (FCR) technology to improve detection, tracking, and discrimination of high value stationary and moving targets for the Longbow Apache and Comanche programs as well as vehicle–based systems such as the moving target indicator ground radar (MGR) in the Target Acquisition ATD and the rapid target acquisition system for crew–served tube–launched, optically tracked, and wire command–linked (TOW).

Augmenting the programs listed above are fundamental studies of the phenomenology associated with target acquisition, including target and clutter characteristics, resolution enhancement techniques, and algorithmic studies, such as the real aperture stationary target radar (RASTR) program. These are designed to investigate performance enhancements through evaluation of improvements in a software environment based on high resolution data sets. Milestones are as follows:

Begin test of GPEN crane SAR (FY97).
Collect data and analyze ATR algorithm performance (FY99).
Complete Ka–band polarimetric monopulse radar to support MGR studies (FY98).
Apply direct digital synthesizer (DDS) and wideband transceiver technology development to stationary target fire control radars (FY97–99).
Improve stationary target algorithms to allow for autonomous adaptation to various clutter backgrounds and strive for a probability of detection greater than 80 percent, with false alarm rates much less than 0.1/km2.

Major Technical Challenges

Challenges include development of instrumentation for the understanding of wave propagation in background/clutter environments; development of high power, low frequency, wideband signals, and development of radar components and algorithms that support high probability of detection and classification of stationary and moving targets with low false alarm rates.

Specific challenges are:

Real beam search OTM targeting for stationary ground targets.
Buried target detection.
Enhanced spatial resolution for operational radar.
MMW E–scan antennas.
Affordability by design.

b. Electro–Optic Sensors

Goals and Timeframes

The goals of tactical EO sensors are to provide passive/covert and active target acquisition (detection, classification, recognition, identification) of military targets of interest and to allow military operations under all battlefield conditions. Platforms using EO sensors include dismounted combat personnel, ground combat and support vehicles, tactical rotary–wing aircraft, manned/unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and ballistic/theater missile defense. Major milestones are: near–infrared (NIR) LADAR for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) (FY97); thin–film, low–cost uncooled sensors and smart dual–color sensors (FY99); multidomain smart sensors with shared aperture (FY03); and integrated detector arrays that incorporate advanced diffractive optics post–processing circuitry (FY03).

Major Technical Challenges

Technical roadblocks to overcome include:

Growth of thin film materials for uncooled detectors.
On–chip readout circuits for analog–to–digital (A/D) conversion and neuromorphic circuits.
Monolithic integration of detector, readout, and processing modules.
Low light level solid–state sensors.
Fusion algorithms for a multidomain sensor system.
Sensor performance in naturally occurring and battlefield generated countermeasures.
Multidomain signature databases.
Design of diffractive optical elements (DOEs).
Integration of DOEs, detectors, and post–processing circuitry in a single device.
Effective, affordable laser hardening for multifunction, multiband laser sources for active sensors.
Multifunction, multiwavelength laser sensors.

c. Acoustic, Magnetic, and Seismic Sensors

Goals and Timeframes

This program seeks to provide real–time tracking and target identification for a variety of battlefield ground and air targets. Desired systems include unattended surveillance sensors and target engagement sensors. Advances in signal processing devices and techniques have made acoustic sensors realizable and highly affordable. Both continuous signals, such as engine noise, and impulsive signals, such as gun shots, are of interest. Enhancing hearing for individual soldiers is also important, and efforts are under way to extend the audible range and frequency response of an individual soldier. Goals include enhanced tracking and identification algorithms, creation of a robust target signature database and algorithm development laboratory (FY97), and detection and tracking of large formations of battlefield targets (FY98).

Major Technical Challenges

Technical risks derive largely from the immature nature of battlefield acoustics technology. Advances in digital signal processing will allow new algorithms to be implemented in affordable packages. Specific technical challenges include:

Advanced target identification algorithms.
Multitarget resolution.
Detection and identification of impulsive acoustic signatures.
Platform and wind noise reduction techniques.
Compact array design for long range hearing.

d. Automatic Target Recognition

Goals and Timeframes

ATR systems will provide sensors with the capability to recognize and identify targets under real–world battlefield conditions. ATR technologies and systems will increase the capabilities of sensors far beyond today’s capabilities. They will provide the future Army with target recognition and identification capabilities that will maintain and increase dominance over all adversaries.

Just as sensor systems are the "eyes" for tactical and strategic weapon systems, ATR systems will be the "brains" for these weapon systems. ATR systems and technologies will allow weapon systems to automatically identify targets, thereby (1) increasing lethality and survivability, (2) reducing the cost of employing advanced high priced weapons, and (3) eliminating or at least reducing the cost and tragedy of losses from friendly fire. In addition, ATR will aid the image analyst to screen the ever–expanding imagery derived from high resolution, wide–field–of–view SAR systems.

In the near term (FY97–98), the Army’s goals in ATR are to do ten target classes, with identification rates nearing 75 to 80 percent and significantly reduced false alarm rates. In the mid term (FY99–03), ATR systems are to handle 20 target classes with improved detection and false alarm rates. In the far term (FY04–12), ATR systems will use rapid training on minimal data to additionally improve performance.

Major Technical Challenges

Technology integral to ATR include processors, algorithms, and ATR development tools, which include M&S. Today, the focus is on single sensor and multiple sensor ATR algorithm development. While processor development is being successfully leveraged off the highly competitive commercial market and the importance of development tools remains high, single and multiple sensor algorithm development programs are the key to successful development of ATR systems for the Army. Ongoing data–driven and model–based algorithm development programs are providing results that include detection rates approaching 100 percent, identification rates in the 80 percent range, and significant reductions in false alarms. In the mid– and far–term, these developments will translate into fielded ATR systems that will significantly increase soldiers’ capabilities and reduce their workload.

e. Integrated Platform Electronics

Goals and Timeframes

Integrated platform electronics (IPE) focus on the integration technologies, disciplines, standards, tools, and components to physically and functionally integrate and fully exploit electronic systems for airborne (helicopters, remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), and fixed wing), ground, and human platforms. Integrated electronics approaches typically result in systems at half the cost and weight of conventional approaches, while providing virtually 100 percent of platform mission capability. One milestone will be to demonstrate an optical backplane system that will provide a 40 percent increase in bandwidth (FY98).

Major Technical Challenges

Determine an architecture or set of architectures so robust that they can readily accept technology innovations developed in the commercial sector. Improve reliability to reduce logistics, deployability, and support costs. Develop standardized image compression techniques and architectures to permit transfer of images with sufficient clarity and update rates to support digitization of the battlefield.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Sensors is shown in Table IV–36.

5. Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

The influence of this technology area on TRADOC FOCs is summarized in Table IV–37.

Table IV–36.  Technical Objectives for Sensors

Technology Subarea

Near Term FY98–99

Mid Term FY00–04

Far Term FY05–13

Radar Sensor COTS processor for target acquisition

Complete Ka–band database of targets and clutter

Develop Ka–band polarimetric monopulse radar testbed

Demonstrate radar for tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (TUAV)

Stationary target indicator (STI) algorithm insertion in MGR for Target Acquisition ATD

Demonstrate unmanned wheeled vehicle (UWV) FOPEN SAR—all weather, wide area detection of targets in foliage

Reduce antenna size requirement by 50%

Demonstrate fully integrated wideband digital receiver for battlefield radar

Demonstrate UWB GPEN capabilities against distributed targets

Implement coherent G–band radar for fire control

Electro–Optics Sensors High resolution image intensifier system

Dual–color sensor demonstration

Quantum well array sensor

Advanced material for uncooled sensor

NIR LADAR sensor for RSTA

Advanced integrated man–portable system (AIMS) lightweight sensor and display modules for multiple infantry missions

Thin–film, low–cost uncooled sensor

Dual–color smart sensor

Multidomain smart sensor system with shared aperture
Acoustic, Magnetic, and Seismic Sensors Develop improved target identification algorithms

Develop improved beamforming algorithms

Evaluate acoustic medical sensors

Develop acoustic algorithm

Develop evaluation laboratory

Develop long–range artillery and rocket location technology

Investigate widely dispersed sensor concepts

Develop enhanced hearing technology for soldier

Develop wind and vehicle noise reduction techniques

Integrate weather models into acoustics sensors

Develop advanced acoustic imaging techniques

Automatic Target Recognition Sensors Multisensor ATRs providing 80% open target recognition

6X search rate

Ten target classes

Multisensor ATRs providing 90% recognition of ground targets in mod–high clutter with acceptable false alarms

60X search rate

20 target classes

Multisensor ATRs providing 95–97% recognition with acceptable false alarms

1000X search rate

ATR with rapid training on minimal data

Integrated Platform Electronics Reduce tank crew manning 50%

Demonstrate super–high–density connector on a standard electronic module—format E (SEM–E)

Improve navigation technology by one order of magnitude in all environments

Demonstrate tank crew 50% reduction using crewman’s associate integration

Demonstrate immersion cooled SEM–E u 1000 watts

Demonstrate 20 GHz network for combined digital, video, and RF

 

Table IV–37.  Sensors Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

Technology Subarea

Integrated and Branch/Functional Unique Future Operational Capabilities

Radar Sensors TR 97–006 Combat Identification
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–027 Navigation
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–041 Operations in an Unexploded Ordnance/Mine Threat Environment
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Electro–Optic Sensors TR 97–006 Combat Identification
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–024 Combat Support/Combat Service Support Mobility
TR 97–027 Navigation
TR 97–028 Unmanned Terrain Domination
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Acoustic, Magnetic, and Seismic Sensors TR 97–006 Combat Identification
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–027 Navigation
TR 97–028 Unmanned Terrain Domination
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Automatic Target Recognition Sensors TR 97–006 Combat Identification
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–027 Navigation
TR 97–028 Unmanned Terrain Domination
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Integrated Platform Electronics TR 97–003 Mission Planning and Rehearsal
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–024 Combat Support/Combat Service Support Mobility
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
TR 97–052 Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations Fidelity Requirements

Click here to go to next page of document