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Harris Team Awarded $6.6 Million Airborne Laser Radar R&D Contract

Demonstration of synthetic LADAR technology.
Melbourne FL (SPX) Jun 03, 2005
Harris Corporation announced Thursday that it has been awarded a $6.6 million research and development contract by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) to develop and demonstrate the Jigsaw Laser Radar (LADAR) 3D-imaging test-bed system for use on a DP-5X Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The ability to reliably identify targets - tanks and other vehicles - hidden under foliage and camouflage was successfully demonstrated by Harris and MIT-Lincoln Laboratories during an earlier Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-sponsored proof-of-concept Jigsaw study.

This demonstration was followed by the recently completed initiative to design a smaller, lighter, autonomous, yet better-performing test bed system suitable for use on a medium-sized UAV.

During this latest phase of the DARPA-sponsored effort, Harris is providing systems integration services in cooperation with LADAR sensor developer MIT-LL and DP-5X platform developer Dragonfly Pictures Incorporated.

In addition, the U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command (RDECOM), Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) is providing test range services and UH-1 helicopter support for early flight testing; Sarnoff Corporation is providing sophisticated 3D-image registration algorithms; and L3Com/Wescam is providing a small, high-performance turret.

This phase includes full implementation of a UAV version of Jigsaw, followed by experimentation and demonstrations, and concludes with in-depth analysis of data collected with the airborne test bed during flight campaigns using the UH-1 helicopter and DP-5X UAV helicopter.

"We are proud of our relationship with DARPA and NVESD in advancing the state of the art in battlespace technologies," said Dan Pearson, president of the Department of Defense (DoD) Programs business unit of Harris Corporation's Government Communications Systems Division (GCSD).

"Harris and these agencies share a common vision - that airborne 3D LADAR will provide a vital intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability on the battlefield of the future, providing operational value to the warfighter while saving lives."

Key elements of the Jigsaw system include: (1) the next-generation LADAR sensor subsystem (including a small, low-cost microchip laser and a photon- counting Geiger avalanche photodiode array) provided by MIT-LL; (2) complex, 3D image registration algorithms provided by Sarnoff; and (3) processing, pointing/tracking and high-throughput payload communications subsystems, along with 3D visualization tools/image analyst interface software provided by Harris.

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MathWorks Tools Helps Design UAV Testbed
Natick MA (SPX) Jun 01, 2005
MathWorks reports that its aerospace software has enabled Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector to develop the Northrop Grumman Trajectory Generation (NGTG) software package of advanced real-time trajectory generation flight software for use in an unmanned aerial vehicle flying test bed.

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