LITTON HAS BEEN selected to demonstrate a laser-radar smart-weapon seeker in- corporating a high-speed, low-cost, optical processor for automatic target-recognition. Litton and Lockheed Martin were competing for the US Air Force development contract, worth almost $2 million.

Litton's Data Systems division will integrate its optical processor, with a laser radar produced by Loral Vought Systems. The complete system will be flight-tested at Eglin AFB, Florida, in late 1997/early 1998. Successful flight tests could lead to a full development programme.

According to Litton, the optical processor is "...a computer which can store thousands of target reference images, called filters, and correlate them with sensor images at a rate of thousands of images per second to instantly recognise a variety of discrete fixed or moving targets".

Litton says that its optical-correlator target-recognition system is capable of performing the equivalent of 10 billion operations/s in a 0.005m3 (0.15ft3) unit which weighs less than 2.3kg, consumes less than 100W power and costs about one-tenth the price of a comparable digital processor.

The Agoura Hills, California-based company says that it is aiming to develop an optical-processor target-recognition system capable of performing 1 trillion operations/s. The system will be similar in size, weight and power consumption to the present system, and will cost about $10,000 a unit.

Source: Flight International