Spectral Calibration and Noise Characterization Hardware, Methods, and Fixtures

The Department of the Navy is seeking a prototype support to address spectral calibration and associated noise characterization of detection devices with an emphasis on spectral cameras.  As the threat increases in complexity, so must the countermeasures and associated quality control / developmental measurement techniques. Changes to the measured, key performance parameters require development and validation of new testing methods, fixtures, and hardware. To assure the accuracy of new types of measurements, strict calibration and noise characterization methods must be developed and employed.

The current calibration procedure, for cavity blackbody sources currently used, must be completed before every lot acceptance test event (as per current countermeasure contracts).  The need for constant calibration eliminates the possibility of an outside entity performing regular calibrations. There is a push to move from single element pyroelectric detectors to spectral cameras. The move towards spectral cameras is necessitated by a need to perform measurements on the full visual scene during countermeasure function.  Desired measurements, that are only capable with spectral cameras, include counting the number of objects in the field, determining the size/shape of objects, and tracking/trajectory of all objects within the field of view. These capabilities do not currently exist beyond non-quantitative, subjective measurement.

Spectral cameras which are used in a number of different areas are currently being investigated for use in the countermeasures community.  Over the past few years, spectral cameras have demonstrated excellent potential for countermeasure use during flight-testing.   They are able to visually record the event and provide details as to qualitative countermeasure function.  Unfortunately, the limited attempt at gathering quantitative data has struggled with verifying accuracy and correlation with ground-based, quality control measurements.  These issues may be resolvable with side-by-side testing of spectral cameras along with traditional pyroelectric detectors during ground testing.

The government requires a complete spectral calibration and noise characterization solution. The solution needs to be fully documented including any drawings used to produce prototype hardware and fixtures. The method should have easy user setup, fixed positioning of instrumentation, and robust hardware.  Solutions should be field portable and not limited to laboratory environments.  The calibration method will be verified and validated by NSWC Crane. Any software required to acquire data should be provided as both an executable file and editable code.