DARPA awards 10g MAV night vision camera contract

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Under a three-year US Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) contract Goodrich is to develop a 640x512 pixel-resolution camera with a mass of under 10g (0.35oz) for hand-launched unmanned air vehicles.

Goodrich will use an indium gallium arsenide-night vision (InGaAs-NV) short-wave infrared (SWIR) sensor in the camera. The uncooled InGaAs-NV SWIR sensor works at wavelengths between visible and thermal cameras.

Goodrich's ISR Systems division was awarded the contract under DARPA's microsensors for imaging (MISI) programme. In addition, sister company Goodrich Sensors Unlimited will deliver a 1280 x 1024 pixel head-mounted monocular display.

"We expect this InGaAs-NV technology to achieve dramatic reductions in size, weight and power and increases in performance," says Sensors Unlimited vice-president and general manager Edward Hart.

DARPA's MISI programme aims to develop infrared sensors operating at room temperature or with extremely low-power cooling and temperature stabilisation a sensor micro-package with an operational lifetime consistent with military operations and optics and electronics consistent with a UAV platform.

MISI's first phase is planned to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating an imaging array into a micro-package having the necessary volume and mass with a performance compatible with the programme's goals.