Tech Briefs

Better data could lead to systems that improve tactical target acquisition, particularly under adverse environmental conditions.

Active imaging systems offer the promise of significantly improved tactical performance compared to passive military systems operating in adverse ground, air, and underwater/ maritime environments. These improvements would include, but are not limited to:

Benefit of Active Imaging Sensor for Target ID, Especially in Night Operation.
  • Extending the ability to operate when passive sensors will not perform satisfactorily;

  • Improving target detection, recognition, and identification performance; and

  • Improving capability to determine the exact nature of the activity being pursued by individuals or vehicles at increased ranges.

The modern military battlefield could therefore greatly benefit from the use of active imaging systems.

Accurate modelling and simulation tools can aid in the design and development, as well as the performance assessment, of active imaging systems. Currently available imaging models are limited in their ability to accurately represent active imaging systems in full spectral simulations, particularly in the atmosphere's effect on laser beam propagation and corresponding radiometric phenomenology on advanced sensor systems. NATO SET-219 working group proposes to mitigate these limitations by advancing the modelling and simulation tools and techniques for state-of-the-art 1D/2D/3D active imaging systems. In this context, simulation is understood to mean the generation of synthetic image sequences that include laser illumination/environmental/sensor system parameters.

SET-219 began with the following set of objectives and goals that would advance the working group's understanding, leveraging much of what was learned through previous groups (SET-072 and SET-156), and provide situational awareness of the state-of-the-art in active imaging simulation tools and techniques:

  • Perform a robust review of existing active imaging system simulations currently being used throughout NATO SET community.

  • Evaluate high resolution physics-based simulations of active imaging system phenomenology, e.g., phase screen propagation and full spectral scene generation; evaluation concentrated on the block components of the simulations, viz.:

    • Laser interaction with atmospheric and underwater environments;

    • Target and background characterization;

    • Sensor system components and subcomponents, i.e., laser illuminator and detector; and

    • Performance limits and capability gaps.

  • Demonstrate and exercise simulations on 1D/2D/3D active imaging system applications.

  • Recommend improvements to active imaging system simulations.

The group was able to address and make progress in each of the main objectives listed above. The resulting enhancements to active imaging simulations will be a critical enabler for future sensor technology development and assessment.

This work was done by the members of SET-219 for the NATO Science and Technology Organization. NATO-0001

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Simulation of Active Imaging Systems (reference NATO-0001) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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