High-resolution imaging sensor developed for the Office of Naval Research

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Engineers at UTC Aerospace Systems’ Sensors Unlimited business unit developed a high-resolution indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) Near Infrared/Shortwave Infrared (NIR/SWIR) imaging sensor under a contract with the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR).

The sensor is hybridized to a matching silicon CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) read-out integrated circuit and packaged into a hermetically sealed focal plane array, officials explain. Imaging electronics were also designed and developed to integrate the focal plane array into a complete imaging camera.

Per ONR’s requirement, the sensor is compatible with the RQ-21A payload size, weight and power (SWAP) envelope and offers the capabilities that include high coverage rate spectral sensing in the SWIR band; the ability to continuously monitor a wide area activity at a resolution (temporal and spatial) consistent with dismount detection/tracking; High fidelity inspection sensing in both of the above collection modes; and autonomous identification of objects, behaviors and materials of interest with accuracy rates high enough to enable a useful real-time dissemination of information directly to warfighters.

UTC Aerospace Systems developed the sensor for the U.S. Navy’s Spectral and Reconnaissance Imagery for Tactical Exploitation (SPRITE) program and has delivered four prototypes to the service as part of a three-year, $9.7 million award.