A laser detection and ranging (LADAR) system was developed to provide unambiguous range and velocity measurements of long-distance targets such as sea-skimming anti-ship missiles. By using the LADAR's range and velocity data, false alarms and clutter objects will be distinguished from incoming missiles at longer ranges (up to 10 km). Because the developed LADAR uses an array receiver, it can also provide three-dimensional (3D) imagery of potential threats at closer ranges (2-3 km) in support of the force protection/situational awareness mission.
The system incorporates a chirped amplitude modulation (chirped AM) architecture, a Doppler tracking method using photonic mixing detectors, and other techniques for enabling active LADAR and high-resolution imagery. The primary benefit is to systems that employ a photocathode imaging tube.
The system can acquire, process, and display 3D imagery in near real time, including near-real-time frame-to-frame re-registration to compensate for platform and target motion. The system provides improved LADAR design with greater modulation depth across the chirp bandwidth, a more compact chirp generator, and improved thermal management.