Multispectral/Hyperspectral Imaging System for Small Boat Detection under Wake Clusters
Navy SBIR 2018.1 - Topic N181-023
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick -
Opens: January 8, 2018 - Closes: February 7, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Multispectral/Hyperspectral Imaging System for Small Boat Detection under Wake Clusters


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Electronics, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA 299 (Rotary) H-60 Helicopter Program

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a lightweight, low-cost, turreted, multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system capable of detecting, recognizing, identifying, and tracking fast-moving boats while either partially or completely obscured by highly reflective water wakes.

DESCRIPTION: Current Electro-Optical systems have been designed for ground-based operations, and do not consider the effect of high reflection from ship wakes.  The Navy needs an improved Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) imaging system for detection, recognition, and identification of small, fast, agile boats.  Fast moving boats, such as the Fast Attack Craft (FAC) and the Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC), generate wakes that have very high reflectivity compared to the reflectivity from the boats themselves.

The topic seeks an investigation of the effects of water wake on the performance of the EO/IR multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system while tracking fast moving boats that are either partially or completely obscured in the wake.  An investigation on the difference between intensity signatures from boats and the highly reflective air-bubbled water wake must be one of the main drivers for the system design.  It is the objective of this SBIR topic to model, design, prototype, and fabricate a multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system for small boat detection under wake clutter.

The multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system should be compact and lightweight enough to be used in naval aircraft, both fixed- and rotary-wing platforms. The imaging system should meet the size, weight, performance, reliability, and sustainability requirements below while keeping costs for future production systems to less than $1 million per system.  The proposer should consider this research and development as the innovative advancement multispectral/hyperspectral imaging systems for specific naval requirements such as operation in the maritime environments and mission.

The performance objectives of the multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system solution should be:
1. Spectral Response: Visible to Long Wave Infrared (LWIR)
Visible: 400-700nm
Near Infrared (NIR): 700 – 900nm
Short Wave Infrared (SWIR): 900 – 1700nm
Mid Wave Infrared (MWIR): 3000 – 5000nm
LWIR: 8000 – 14000nm
2. Cooled system
3. Weight of the system: Threshold: less than 120 pounds, Objective: less than 90 pounds.
4. Physical characteristics: length =15 inches, width =15 inches, height =15 inches.
5. Field of regard: Azimuth 360 Continuous; Elevation -30 degrees to 30 degrees
6. Ability to switch between at least three field of views (FOVs):
Narrow: Less than or equal to 3 degrees x 3 degrees
Medium: 8 degrees x 8 degrees
Wide: 15 degrees x 15 degrees
7. Boresighted and properly aligned sensors and FOVs
8. Image acquisition: >100Hz
9. Ability to be ruggedized and packaged to withstand the shock, vibration, pressure, temperature, humidity, electrical power conditions, etc. encountered in a system built for airborne use.
10. Reliability: Mean time between system failure – 3000 operating hours
11. Probability of detection at 10Km:  Threshold:  0.9, Objective 0.95
12. Probability of false alarm at 10Km:  Threshold:  0.2 Objective 0.1

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DSS and NAVAIR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Design and demonstrate the feasibility of an imaging system that meets or exceeds the requirements specified.  The system must have the ability to detect, recognize, and identify a small boat that is completely submerged in salt water wake for at least one specified spectral band (SWIR, MWIR, LWIR). Identify technological and reliability challenges of the design approach, and propose viable risk mitigation strategies.  Develop prototype plans for Phase II.

PHASE II: Design, fabricate, and demonstrate a multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system prototype based on the design from Phase I.  Test and fully characterize the system prototype to assess its performance.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize the design and fabricate a multispectral/hyperspectral imaging system solution and assist to obtain certification for flight on a NAVAIR R&D aircraft.  Multispectral/hyperspectral imaging systems have applications in detection of liquid contamination on surfaces, airborne thermal imaging of buried objects, and detection of defects on merchandise, gas detection, and mineral identification.


1. Downing, H. & Williams, D. “Optical Constants of Water in the Infrared.” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 80, No. 12, pp. 1656-1661.

2. Hagen, N. & Kudenov, M. “Review of snapshot spectral imaging technologies.” Optical Engineering, 2013, 52 (9), 090901-1-23, (2013).

3. Kozarac, D. Risovic, S. & Frka, D. “Reflection of light from the air/water interface covered with sea-surface microlayers.” Marine Chemistry, 2005, 96, pp. 99-113.

4. MIL-STD 810G: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests.

5. MIL-STD 8591: Airborne Stores, Suspension Equipment and Aircraft-Store Interface.

6. MIL-STD 464 A: Interface Electromagnetic Environmental.

7. MIL-STD 461E for EMI: Requirements for The Control of Electromagnetic Interference Characteristics of Subsystems and Equipment.

8. MIL-STD 1399 Section 300A for Power: Electric Power, Alternating Current (Metric).

9. Shaw, G. & Burke, H. “Spectral Imaging for Remote Sensing.” Lincoln Lab. J. 14. 1, 3-28.

10. Van Iersel, M. & Devecchi, B. “Modeling the infrared and radar signature of the wake of a vessel.” Conference: SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence, September 2015, Toulouse, France, Vol: 9653-11.

11. Zhang, X. Lemis, M. Bissett, W. Johnson, B. & Kohler, D. “Optical influence of ship wakes.” Applied Optics, May 20, 2004, Vol. 43, No. 15, pp. 3122-3132.

12. Zilman, G., Zapolski, A. & Marom, M. “On detectability of a ship’s Kelvin wake in simulated SAR images of rough sea surface.” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 2015, Vol.53, No.2, pp. 609- 619.

KEYWORDS: Multispectral Imaging; Hyperspectral Imaging; Wake Clusters; Small Boat Detection; FAC; FIAC


These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.1 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.1 BAA SBIR pre-release on November 29, 2017, which opens to receive proposals on January 8, 2018, and closes February 7, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between November 29, 2017 and January 7, 2018 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting January 8, 2018
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.
However, until January 24, 2018, proposers may still submit written questions about solicitation topics through the DoD's SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS), in which the questioner and respondent remain anonymous and all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing until the solicitation closes. All proposers are advised to monitor SITIS during the Open BAA period for questions and answers and other significant information relevant to their SBIR/STTR topics of interest.

Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

Proposal Submission: All SBIR/STTR Proposals must be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR/STTR Electronic Submission Website, as described in the Proposal Preparation and Submission of Proposal sections of the program Announcement.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 800-348-0787 or via email at