Automated Warhead Characterization
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-007
Topic Title: Automated Warhead Characterization
Proposal No.: N141-007-0244
Firm: Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc.
200 Westside Square
Suite 320
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
Contact: Joe Foster
Phone: (850) 502-9237
Web Site:
Abstract: Polaris Sensor Technologies proposes to use an innovative range imaging technique for characterizing the blast effects of a warhead. The proposed effort will integrate highly sensitive image intensifier technologies with pulsed LED emitters designed to capture high-speed volumetric events. The proposed technique will leverage the unique "gating" capabilities of image intensifiers that can collect "range slices" of the target scene in 3D while maintaining high sensitivity levels that far surpass the capabilities of traditional high-speed cameras. In conjunction with this image intensifier technology, PST will leverage their PFA image processing algorithms to conduct low signal-to-noise (SNR) segmentation of the individual fragments, discriminating and tracking their path through the scene. These algorithms are specifically designed to track targets in an extensively cluttered backgrounds with very low SNRs. By synchronizing multiple sensor installations around the blast this technique will provide a full characterization of the event including fragment sizes and speeds computed for each point of view.
Benefits: Characterization of high speed events has traditionally been a difficult field of measurement due to limitations in the measurement technology. As camera systems have improved performance over recent years, the ability to capture stop action image sequences of these events has provided great insight into how they unfold over time. Yet, even with very high frame rate cameras, characterization of events whose volume is large or expanding in all directions, such as a warhead detonation, suffer from the inability of a two dimensional imaging system such as a camera to properly characterize the full scope of the high speed event as they unfold. The proposed technique addresses this by providing imaging of the event from multiple points of view, and using novel low light imaging components coupled with active illumination to measure the event in a particular spatial domain, thus eliminating the surrounding clutter from the measurement. When accumulated, the suite of sensors provide a full characterization of the event. This technology is directly related to any high speed detonation event, and should be of interest to all branches of the military, and potentially law enforcement agencies as well. In addition to its use for design and test of high tech warheads, the system could be adapted to use in characterization of mines or other explosives so that counter measures for military vehicles can be improved. It is believed that the technology could be of interest to the automotive and insurance industries for use in testing of cars and trucks to improve safety in crash survivability.