Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded $13.4 million by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Low Cost Thermal Imaging Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program. The goal of LCTI-M is to develop a wafer scale manufacturing process that will make thermal imagers affordable and accessible to every warfighter.
Under the three-year contract, Raytheon Vision Systems (RVS) will develop wafer scale manufacturing processes to reduce the size, weight, power and cost of thermal cameras so that they can be integrated into PDAs or cell phones. Wider availability would enhance situational awareness and information sharing among dismounted soldiers and individual intelligence personnel, where a common view of the battlefield is critical.
"Making high-performance thermal imagers available to every vehicle, surveillance device and dismounted soldier will give them greater situational awareness in low light, adverse weather and obscured environments," said Charlie Cartwright, vice president of Raytheon Network Centric Systems' Advanced Programs, which includes RVS.
Infrared imaging can capture clear images and valuable information even in environments with severely degraded visibility. Because of their small size and low power requirements, thermal imagers can be integrated into hand-held units, rifle sights, helmets or eyeglasses, and can support extended missions. Additionally, the captured images can be shared instantly for intelligence analysis, surveillance and reconnaissance, or mission command.
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