Air Force wants better knowledge of high-altitude airborne LIDAR capabilities

The Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is seeking white papers that would help it determine the capabilities of industry to produce Airborne Light Detection and Ranging systems and products and determine a forward path for expanded use of the technology in tactical and strategic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The impetus for the study is the success with which 3-dimensional LIDAR technology was used by U.S. aerial operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the FedBizOpps announcement said.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute is under contract to develop and publish the Airborne LIDAR Design Study Plan. Parties interested in contributing to the effort are asked to submit a short white paper describing their LIDAR technology capabilities.

Although the study plan will not lead directly to an acquisition, it will help the service determine its future acquisition strategy for LIDAR technology systems and products.

Specifically, the Air Force is interested in using internally mounted LIDAR systems on unmanned aircraft such as the MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-4B Global Hawk and the manned U-2. The service is particularly interested in LIDAR sensors that would be used at altitudes of between 20,000 feet to 50,000 feet.

The service is interested in a number of specific details about LIDAR systems and products, including size, weight, and power; operating range; cross-range ground sampling distance; range precision; collection rate and platform flight constraints; visibility and atmospheric conditions; probability of detection against 10 percent Lambertian target; intensity information; and multiple return capability and range resolution.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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