Advanced Materials and Manufacturing,
ASA(ALT),
Phase I

Large Format Color Low Light Level (LLL) Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs)

Release Date: 03/30/2021
Open Date: 04/14/2021
Application Due Date: 05/18/2021
Close Date: 05/18/2021
Solicitation: 21.4
Topic Number: A214-009
Duration: 6 months
Amount Up To: $256K

Topic Objective 

The Apache Attack Helicopter Project Management Office (PM) and the Sensors Product Director (PD) is seeking advanced state-of-the-art Low Light Level (LLL) color capable cameras with a large format (2,000 pixels by 2,000 pixels or larger) to address desired capabilities. The objective of this SBIR is the demonstration of an advanced large format LLL color camera suitable for insertion into the Apache targeting system (Target Acquisition and Designation Sights, Pilot Night Vision System, M-TADS/PNVS). 

Description  

The Apache PM and the Sensors PM is seeking advanced state-of-the-art LLL focal plane arrays (FPAs) to address desired capabilities, specifically a color large format LLL (2K x 2K or larger) camera. The LLL system would be fused with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imagery of comparable format to provide enhanced situational awareness (SA). The color LLL sensor should support targeting by providing the capability to capture imagery from lasers, tracers, cultural lights, military lights, etc., which can then be fused with the Apache targeting FLIR. With respect to the request for a color LLL sensor, what is desired is a sensor that can provide suitable, standard RGB color performance during daytime operations and good low light level performance during dusk/dark hours. The objective of this SBIR is the demonstration of the advanced large format LLL FPA system as a color camera capable of operating at low light levels. 

Phase I 

Consider, identify, and evaluate a color LLL sensor that will support targeting by providing the capability to capture imagery from lasers, tracers, cultural lights, military lights, etc. With respect to the request for a color LLL sensor, what is desired is a sensor that can provide suitable, standard RGB color performance during daytime operations and good low light level performance during dusk/dark hours. 

Phase II 

Develop a working prototype and characterize the phase I camera to be fused with the Apache targeting FLIR. A camera of suitable size, e.g. 2K x 2K, to be installed into the existing Apache targeting system is desired, but if this is not achievable in this Phase, then a path to insertion should at least be identified. The fusion with the FLIR will be accomplished outside this effort. 

Phase III 

Deliver a color LLL sensor test bed based on the recommendations from Phase II that demonstrates the capabilities of the advanced LLL FPA system. Continue to extend the technology to a full pilotage and targeting system prototype by optimizing the hardware and software developed in the previous phase. Refine the design to minimize size, weight, power and to survive the harsh conditions experienced in a military environment (using MIL-STD-810, Environmental Engineering Consideration and Laboratory Tests, as a reference for what the equipment will need to withstand across its service life). Create a partnership with industry to manufacture the technology. Commercial applications of the technology may include penetrating atmospheric haze for determining the health of vegetation, identifying plant species, estimating biomass of vegetation, assessing soil moisture, assessing water clarity, or other remote sensing applications. 

Submission Information  

To submit full proposal packages, and for more information, visit the DSIP Portal.   

References:
  1. MIL-STD-810E  
  1. MIL-STD-704F  
  1. MIL-STD-461E  

*MIL-STD refers to a United States defense standard that is used to help achieve standardization objectives set forth by the U.S. Department of Defense. MIL-STD establishes uniform engineering and technical requirements for military-unique or substantially modified commercial processes, procedures, practices, and methods.

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