Northrop Grumman has been chosen to perform flight tests for the Air Force’s Multi-Spectral Sensing Technologies Research and Development (MuSTeR) program. MuSTeR is developing RF and electro-optical sensors for offensive, defensive, and integrated offensive and defensive systems.
MuSTeR’s overall goal is the enhancement of military sensor systems by using the entire electromagnetic spectrum. For example, they are developing infrared search and track (IRST) technology to enable U.S. and allied aircraft to search for airborne targets without betraying their presence by emitting RF and microwave energy. The project will also focus on improving RF sensing systems for situational awareness and targeting applications, along with developing an advanced large-format high-dynamic-range long wave infrared (LWIR) digital pixel readout integrated circuit (DPROIC) for airborne infrared and track (IRST) applications.
For the MuSTeR program, Northrop Grumman will support test flights of the sensor systems, focussing on: multiband multifunction radio frequency sensing; laser radar technology; passive radio frequency sensing; and distributed radio frequency sensing. It will also provide flight-test support for large format focal plane arrays, read-out architectures, sensor chip assembly designs, wide-field-of-view optical designs, and advanced processing methods for target detection and tracking.
Other MuSTeR contractors will investigate low-cost infrared search and track (LC-IRST) system design tradeoffs, cloud clutter suppression algorithms and processing, and machine learning techniques with the potential to improve overall IRST detection performance.