Exelis has finished a series of flight tests on a sensor and processing system the company built to detect potentially hazardous substances and gases by pointing in multiple directions.
The company’s team in Rochester, N.Y. placed several types of materials around the region to evaluate how the sensor recorded and stored data for processing on board an aircraft at a later time, Exelis said Wednesday.
Long-wave infrared hyperspectral sensors work to collect imagery by pointing both down to the ground and across the horizon while mounted on an aircraft that flies over a target, Exelis said.
“Using a LWIR HSI sensor would allow access to hard-to-reach areas and positively identify solids and gases critical to defense, civilian and commercial operations,” said Dr. Minda Suchan, director of material identification at Exelis.
Exelis designed the sensor to provide users real-time information on the composition of gases and liquids as they work to detect improvised explosive devices or leaks in containers and pipes.
“Customers are looking for reliable ways to locate and identify either naturally existing or man-made materials, some of which can be dangerous, illegal or items of interest that are not visible to traditional imaging cameras,” Suchan said.
The company designed its LWIR sensors to cool in a cryocooler at subzero-degree temperatures, which Exelis says is required to make the sensor sensitive enough to find small amounts of gas in the atmosphere and solid materials on the ground.