Harris Corporation has been awarded a $6.6 million R&D contract by the US Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) to develop and demonstrate the Jigsaw Laser Radar (LADAR) 3D-imaging test-bed system for use on a DP-5X Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The ability to reliably identify targets – tanks and other vehicles – hidden under foliage and camouflage was successfully demonstrated by Harris and MIT-Lincoln Laboratories during an earlier Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-sponsored proof-of-concept Jigsaw study. This demonstration was followed by the recently completed initiative to design a smaller, lighter, autonomous, yet better-performing test bed system suitable for use on a medium-sized UAV.
During this latest phase of the DARPA-sponsored effort, Harris is providing systems integration services in cooperation with LADAR sensor developer MIT-LL and DP-5X platform developer Dragonfly Pictures Incorporated.
In addition, the US Army Research Development & Engineering Command (RDECOM), Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) is providing test range services and UH-1 helicopter support for early flight testing; Sarnoff Corporation is providing 3D-image registration algorithms; and L3Com/Wescam is providing a small, high-performance turret. This phase includes full implementation of a UAV version of Jigsaw, followed by experimentation and demonstrations, and concludes with in-depth analysis of data collected with the airborne test bed during flight campaigns using the UH-1 helicopter and DP-5X UAV helicopter.
Key elements of the Jigsaw system include the next-generation LADAR sensor subsystem (including a small, low-cost microchip laser and a photon-counting Geiger avalanche photodiode array) provided by MIT-LL; complex, 3D image registration algorithms provided by Sarnoff; and processing, pointing/tracking and high-throughput payload communications subsystems, along with 3D visualization tools/image analyst interface software provided by Harris.