Battlespace Tech

ONR working on a new electro-optical defense for Navy ships

The Navy is planning to equip its surface ships with an electro-optical and infrared system to defend against fast-moving threats at sea.

The Combined EO/IR Surveillance and Response System, or CESARS, program, which the Office of Naval Research plans on kicking off in 2016, is intended primarily to defend against optically guided anti-ship missiles and fast attack crafts, with unmanned aerial vehicles seen as a secondary threat, according to a presolicitation issued by ONR.

CESARS, part of ONR’s Future Naval Capabilities program, will consist of two parts with distinct functions: the Shipboard Panoramic EO/IR Cueing and Surveillance System (SPECSS) and Multispectral EO/IR Countermeasures for Advanced Threats (MEIRCAT).

SPECSS will provide wide field-of-view target detection and tracking before handing off to MEIRCAT’s high-resolution sensors, which will perform target re-acquisition, tracking, classification/identification, 3D ranging, threat assessment, and countermeasure execution and monitoring, according to the solicitation. MEIRCAT should be able to provide multiband capability against multiple targets at a time.

ONR is looking to build CESARS on scalable, open-systems hardware and software architectures with non-proprietary interface specifications, data formats, and source code.

The basic capabilities ONR is looking for include:

• Wide field-of-view situational awareness across multiple wavebands.

• Automated multi-target detection, tracking, and cueing algorithms.

• Video data acquisition, dissemination, recording, processing and display.

• High-resolution classification, identification and tracking in multiple wavebands.

• Integrated, precise and real-time, active-and-passive fine tracking (including range) in multiple wavebands.

• Enhanced CM capability against current and advanced multi-band EO/IR threats.

• Precise 3D ranging and countermeasure information to the shipboard combat system.

NRL could be breaking some new ground with the project, since it said that, according to its market research, commercial items don’t currently have the capabilities they’re looking for in CESARS.

The Navy expects to award one or more cost plus fixed-fee type contracts for the project sometime around October.

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