Application Note

Airborne Infrared Hyperspectral Imager For Intelligence, Surveillance And Reconnaissance Applications

Source: TELOPS


By Eldon Puckrin, Caroline S. Turcotte, Marc-André Gagnon, John Bastedo, Vincent Farley and Martin Chamberland

Persistent surveillance and collection of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information is critical in today’s warfare against terrorism. High resolution imagery in visible and infrared bands provides valuable detection capabilities based on target shapes and temperatures. However, the spectral resolution provided by a hyperspectral imager adds a spectral dimension to the measurements, leading to additional tools for detection and identification of targets, based on their spectral signature. The Telops Hyper-Cam sensor is an interferometer-based imaging system that enables the spatial and spectral analysis of targets using a single sensor. It is based on the Fourier-transform technology yielding high spectral resolution and enabling high accuracy radiometric calibration. It provides datacubes of up to 320×256 pixels at spectral resolutions as fine as 0.25 cm-1. The LWIR version covers the 8.0 to 11.8 μm spectral range. The Hyper-Cam has been recently used for the first time in two compact airborne platforms: a bellymounted gyro-stabilized platform and a gyro-stabilized gimbal ball. Both platforms are described in this paper, and successful results of high-altitude detection and identification of targets, including industrial plumes, and chemical spills are presented.

Emerging applications in the civilian and defense context require sensors with state-of-the-art sensitivity and capabilities. Among these sensors, the imaging spectrometer is an instrument yielding a large amount of rich information about the measured scene. This powerful spectrometric tool is becoming more common in civil applications such as search and rescue, geological surveys, pollution monitoring, forest fire detection and monitoring and combustion studies. These sensors are also emerging as important assets for defense operations through the role they can play for troop protection against chemical attacks, detection of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and for military target detection.