Case Study: Using Intel-based COTS for On-deck Optical Threat Detection

Curtiss-Wright recently engaged with a customer tasked with building a new, state-of-the-art optical threat protection system for a NATO naval surface program. This on-deck system will be used to detect and identify small craft, determining if they pose a potential threat and transferring information to a fire control system if they do.

Our customer is using sensors comprised of focal plane arrays (FPA), which generate a deluge of high-definition pixel data. A large portion of the design challenge was finding a way to process and display this high bandwidth data stream, with very low latency from image capture to actionable information.

The processing requirements are complex, involving image enhancement, identification algorithms, and trajectory extrapolation, while display involves rendering an image for human perception and transferring that image to multiple display stations. Keeping the image processing hardware in close proximity to the sensor FPA provides significant latency advantages but places limits on volume, weight and power while exposing the hardware to a harsh maritime environment.

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