Enabling Space-based Missile Warning Systems

Under the Air Force’s High-Stare program, Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs) were developed and manufactured to detect infrared radiation for enhanced missile launch detection. (Photos used with permission from BAE and Teledyne/Released)

(Photos used with permission from BAE and Teledyne/Released)

Scientists and engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles and Materials and Manufacturing Directorates successfully transitioned technologies and “technology toolkits” that enable reproducible manufacturing of high performance, large format focal plane arrays (FPAs) for space-based missile warning systems.

This collaboration between AFRL, Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC, and BAE Systems developed and demonstrated some of the largest FPAs made to date.

The primary goals of the program were the development and demonstration of a single chip containing more than 4 million pixels for the detection and warning of ballistic missile events.

An additional project result was the “toolkit” to enable subsequent large format FPA development efforts with lower risk and higher probability of design success.

The “technology toolkits” deliver nondestructive testing and characterization techniques that aid in assessing performance degrading defects in materials, screen for bad parts, and identify areas where process improvements can significantly improve detector yield.

Under the Air Force’s High-Stare program, Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs) were developed and manufactured to detect infrared radiation for enhanced missile launch detection. (Photos used with permission from BAE and Teledyne/Released)

(Photos used with permission from BAE and Teledyne/Released)

Processes for identifying and confining critical defects in the read-out integrated circuits, which read signal information from every pixel in the sensing array, were also developed.

Under the Air Force’s High-Stare program, these FPAs were developed and manufactured to detect infrared radiation for enhanced missile launch detection.

The large format FPAs are expected to be used on satellites developed to meet the United States’ infrared missile warning needs.

Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
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