Thursday, November 4, 2010

Navy eyes LADAR technology to detect and identify hostile aircraft for fleet defense

Laser surveillance experts at NAVMAR Applied Sciences Corp. in Warminster, Pa., will demonstrate laser direction and ranging (LADAR) capability in an operational U.S. Navy squadron that can help identify potentially hostile aircraft at ranges farther than 50 nautical miles under terms of a $9.2 million research contract awarded last month.

NAVMAR will develop, integrate, and support advanced LADAR surveillance sensors for an operational Navy Squadron as part of a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project called “LADAR Identification (ID) Demonstration.” Awarding the SBIR contract are officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, N.J.

The Navy's goal of this research project is to enable ships and aircraft to identify potentially hostile airborne targets for fleet defense using the latest advances in compact, high power, and stable CO2 lasers. LADAR systems operate by briefly illuminating the unknown aircraft and then extracting the Doppler shifted return that contains aircraft type unique information that will provide positive identification.

NAVMAR experts have developed demonstrated a long-range real-time, ground-to-air LADAR using a suitable CO2 LADAR and optical tracking system that can detect targets farther away than 50 nautical miles. The next step in the latest contract calls for the company to integrate this technology into an operational Navy squadron.

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