SDL Develops Technology to Track Moving Targets

November 16, 2001

LOGAN — Real-time digital reconnaissance, jointly developed at the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL),

Using current reconnaissance technology, moving targets are hard to destroy. Existing wet film data collection methods require the ground operators to first recover the film from the aircraft, then develop the negatives, print and evaluate the images, and finally send mission orders back to the squadron. This allows time for these targets to relocate and go into hiding.

The newest airborne tactical reconnaissance system will combat that problem. The Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP), the Full Capabilities Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System - Completely Digital (FCAP TARPS-CD), and the SDL developed Navy Input Station (NAVIS) are the most advanced reconnaissance technologies, integrating state-of-the art electro-optical/infrared sensors and digital imagery with real-time digital recording, data link transmission, and display.

"With this technology, pilots will be able to perform more rapid strikes against enemy targets," said Niel Holt, NAVIS program manager at SDL.

NAVIS is a real-time reconnaissance imagery receiving and display system. It allows the operator to process, display and manipulate imagery as the aircraft is flying, enabling clarification of targets and instantaneous strikes.

During a recent demonstration of the system, an F/A-18F and P-3 equipped with a SHARP prototype flew over the Pentagon and the Washington DC area, transmitting real-time images to NAVIS. Live images acquired during the flights included the Reagan National Airport runways and the Pentagon parking lot, as well as other area landmarks.

As the planes flew over, SDL officials, members of Congress, media representatives, and Navy and industry officials watched the real-time imagery demo on the NAVIS ground station from a tent in the north parking lot of the Pentagon.

The NAVIS project has been in development for less than four years and has transitioned to NAVAIR for full rate production. NAVIS will be ready for its scheduled deployment with a SHARP equipped F/A-18E/F Super Hornet wing in 2003. Team members in the development of the systems demonstrated at the Pentagon flyover included the Naval Research Laboratory, NAVAIR, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Raytheon, Recon Optical, L-3 Communications, Ampex, Honeywell, and Smith Industries.