Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Radar Camera Aims High For The Air Force

Date:
May 13, 1999
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
When a U.S. fighter pilot is flying over enemy territory, he must deal with the issue of whether or not his stealth fighter can be detected by radar. Now, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a hand-held, holographic camera that can assist ground crews in verifying the condition of an aircraft's stealth characteristics.

Contact: Staci West -- (509) 372-6313, staci.west@pnl.gov

RICHLAND, Wash. - When a U.S. fighter pilot is flying over enemy territory, he must deal with the issue of whether or not his stealth fighter can be detected by radar.

Now, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a prototype engineering tool to help ease the minds of fighter pilots and their ground crews. The Holographic 3-Dimensional Radar Camera is a hand-held, zone-imaging device that can assist ground crews in verifying the condition of an aircraft’s stealth characteristics. The system can be easily deployed worldwide.

Pacific Northwest engineers developed the 3-D radar camera for the U.S. Air Force and recently delivered it to the F-117 System Program Office at Aeronautical Systems Center located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The system is undergoing evaluation on the F-117A stealth fighter by the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM.

This new radar camera will help the Air Force determine the condition of radar-absorbing material on F-117A Nighthawks, and the technology could be applied to other stealth aircraft as well.

The 3-D radar camera works much like a videotape camcorder. The device records images of a portion of an aircraft’s radar reflection and translates that information into an image showing where the radar-absorbing material is creating a larger reflection than desired. As an aircraft’s radar reflection increases, so do its chances of being detected by enemy radar.

“Ground crews want to verify that the aircraft’s radar detectability is low,” said Thomas Hall, Pacific Northwest staff engineer. “By using the 3-D radar camera, ground crews can better determine if critical portions of an aircraft are in ‘go’ or ‘no go’ condition.”

The 3-D radar camera supports pre- and post-repair inspections to ensure the radar-absorbing material is performing as expected, particularly in cases where the aircraft has been damaged, even slightly, during flight.

Pacific Northwest engineers built a Ku-Band radar camera that operates at 12 to 18 gigahertz and delivered it to the F-117 System Program Office in September 1998. The engineers are building a second camera, an X-band camera that will operate at 8 to 12 gigahertz, that is scheduled for delivery this spring.

The Air Force will be able to use both cameras on a single aircraft to measure and characterize any defects in the stealth material. Evaluation across a range of frequencies is important because longer-range search or surveillance radar generally operate on lower frequencies. Shorter-range radar, such as those used by missile and artillery targeting systems, operate on higher frequencies.

“We’re providing the ground crew with a new way of helping to verify the stealth condition of an aircraft scheduled for a mission,” said Wayne Lechelt, Pacific Northwest staff engineer.

Here’s how it works: The operator holds the camera about two feet from the area to be inspected and “shoots” the aircraft with low-power electromagnetic waves. An antenna array receives the reflected energy and sends it to a computer for processing. Software algorithms translate the level of reflection into a radar image, which then is projected into head-mounted virtual vision glasses. Each snapshot covers a 1-square-foot area.

Through the glasses, the operator sees an image depicting the brightness of the aircraft’s radar reflection, or signature. The image displays the radar signature in green, yellow or red to denote pass, assess or fail, respectively. For example, a strong radar signature will appear in red, which means the inspected area has a high level of reflection and would be more visible to radar. Likewise, a yellow “assess” reading will appear if the radar-absorbing material has been degraded but not necessarily enough to require immediate repair.

Pacific Northwest engineers designed the radar camera to protect classified information during operation. By using virtual vision goggles, the operator is the only person who sees the radar images. The radar camera has no internal storage component that would require securing the device in a classified area. Instead, the operator can choose to download images onto a removable disk for later analysis and processing.

The F-117 System Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base funded design and development of the cameras with $1.2 million, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Business inquiries on this or other PNNL technologies should be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or e-mail: inquiry@pnl.gov.

Pacific Northwest is one of DOE’s nine multiprogram national laboratories and conducts research in the fields of environment, energy, health sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated Pacific Northwest for DOE since 1965.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Radar Camera Aims High For The Air Force." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512124034.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (1999, May 13). Radar Camera Aims High For The Air Force. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512124034.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Radar Camera Aims High For The Air Force." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512124034.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins