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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

COBRA EYE

The Boeing RC-135X COBRA EYE is a modfied RC-135S for TELINT missions, carrying a cryogenically cooled infrared sensor subsystem for the Army Space and Strategic Defense Command. Formerlly known as the Optical Aircraft Measurement Program (OAMP), this Ball Aerospace effort was a one-of-a-kind infrared sensor technological development program. The OAMP sensor detects an object's spectra to determine the four dimensions: spatial (location of the object); temporal (temperature of the object); radiometric (brightness in the infrared); and, spectral (color in the infrared). The sensor system's telescope, the first with simultaneous spectral and radiometric measurement capabilities, takes precise, calibrated measurements in three infrared bands.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Lincoln Laboratories, the OAMP sensor is a cryogenically cooled system that features an infrared telescope and focal plane assembly. OAMP uses a digital control pointing and tracking gimbal to locate and track objects that emit heat into the atmosphere. About the size of a compact car, the sensor is mounted inside an RC-135 aircraft, the military version of a Boeing 707.

E-Systems is converting the COBRA EYE RC-135X (62-4128) into another COBRA BALL, initially with only a minimal sensor suite. Configured with windows on both sides of the aircraft, it will support the ballistic missile defense Theater Missile Defense Critical Measurements Program to collect target data.

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Updated Saturday, June 21, 1997 11:14:49 AM