SHOT - Sensor for Hypersonic Object Tracking
Award last edited on: 4/27/2024

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
DOD : Navy
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Atul Joshi

Company Information

Saaz Micro Inc

800 Calle Plano
Camarillo, CA 93012
   (805) 297-8128
Location: Single
Congr. District: 26
County: Ventura

Phase I

Contract Number: N68335-23-C-0589
Start Date: 7/13/2023    Completed: 1/9/2024
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Recent demonstration of hypersonic missiles by American adversaries poses a significant threat to the US. These missiles can evade early warning systems since they cruise at a lower altitude, are highly maneuverable, travel over five times the speed of sound, and have a very low radar cross section. In the past few years there has been increasing interest in developing new EO/IR sensors to detect such missiles. Due to their high velocity, they develop a hot plasma around them, with the nose cone and leading edges often becoming hotter than 1500C. Such hot surfaces provide a good thermal signature providing opportunity for novel EO/IR sensors to be developed. Hypersonic missile early detection requires a highly sensitive wide area EO/IR sensor, identification requires a high resolution sensor, and tracking requires very low latency readout. Having all these features in a single imaging sensor is very difficult. For example, a large format 2K x 2K SWIR or MWIR infrared focalplane array imaging at rates required for tracking (20KHz frame rate) would dissipate over 200W of power, while traditional cooling methods can only handle focalplane arrays with at most a few watts of power dissipation. Moreover, such a FPA will produce 80 billion pixel/second data rate that cannot be handled by contemporary processors to detect and track the missile. SAAZ has been developing neuromorphic event-based readout EO/IR sensor technology that alleviates the above issues, offering the following advantages: In pixel detection of temporal contrast to reduce processing load Asynchronous readout reduces data rate while maintaining very low latency for tracking Increase probability of detection Reduce false alarm rate Sensor and processor compatibility enhancement Efficient Algorithms Optimized band Radiation hardened ROIC and electronics suitable for space The ongoing developments offer a good foundation for starting the work on this Navy SBIR. Under this SBIR SAAZ proposes to add the use case to detect and track a hypersonic missile in its glide phase to terminal phase transition, as follows: To study the phenomenology of the glide phase and the terminal phase, especially developing a radiometric model for the transition between these phases To develop a model that compares the performance by using a single EO/IR band with respect to several bands provide cost-benefit analysis Conduct preliminary design of an optimal event driven neuromorphic sensor for the intended use case Develop a plan for sensor demonstration (field test) under phase II and develop a productization strategy to transition the technology to a program of record The proposed multi EO/IR sensor event-based neuromorphic technology with embedded AI algorithms will greatly enhance Navys capabilities in protecting platforms against hypersonic missile threats.

The event-based, or neuromorphic, multi-band EO/IR sensor addresses the shortcomings of current traditional approaches. Hypersonic missile early detection requires a highly sensitive wide area EO/IR sensor, identification requires a high resolution sensor, and tracking requires very low latency readout. Having all these features in a single imaging sensor is very difficult. SAAZs solutions alleviates the issues by offering the following

Improve system for tracking very fast moving objects, which are not trackable by traditional imaging cameras, utilizing the short readout latency of the event-based ROIC. Produce machine-processable data from the array, rather than only a series of images. The event-based pixel array output data are based on temporal contrast exceedances, i.e., scene motion, which are readily used for threat detection. AI/ML based processing ensure improved probability of detection and low false alarm rates . Reduce cold-space power through reduced data rate by reading out only pixels of interest and only pixels that register a temporal change in the scene (asynchronous readout). This will improve system SWaP-C by lowering the heat load and improving cooler lifetime. SAAZ will transition this novel event-based technology developed in Phase II into improved SWaP-C fielded sensors by securing Phase III funding. The final systems will be ready for deployment is airborne and space platforms. SAAZ is collaborating with a prime to incorporate this technology into their systems for a variety of DoD applications. The prime offers a path to support the development beyond Phase II. Upon successful completion of this SBIR effort there is a path to transition this technology to active systems and programs of record. SAAZ is also independently marketing its various event based imaging efforts to the wider customer base. Through various engagements with the customers, SAAZ has developed a commercialization strategy for this technology that spans a wide application space. Some of the key applications being addressed by this technology include: Hypersonic threat protection platforms and seekers on hypersonic platforms A variety of army force protection systems for threat detection Threat detection and situational awareness pod upgrades on fixed wing and rotary aircraft Space systems with improved detection capabilities, specifically for threat and kill assessment Overhead Persistent IR (OPIR) space system platforms and New Space commercial payloads A detailed commercialization plan developed by us shows a strong market need exists for this technology and a significant return on the Navys investment. Once the EO/IR sensor system is demonstrated, a strong and growing commercial market, such as the New Space payloads being developed by SAAZ, will drive production costs down while improving performance, greatly benefitting the Navy.

Event-Based Sensor, Event-Based Sensor, Focalplane Array (FPA), Electro Optical (EO), neuromorphic, Hyper Temporal Imaging Camera (HTI), readout integrated circuit (ROIC), hypersonic, Infrared (IR)

Phase II

Contract Number: ----------
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount