IEEE Computer Volume 14 Number 6 -- NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
Original Publication Date: 1981-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
Prof. Demetrios Michalopoulos: AUTHOR [+2]
NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH * Fiber optic link tested for missile guidance role * Experimental dynamic RAM made with simple polycide technology * 3M Scanamural process paints murals by computer control
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NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
New Applications Editor: Prof. Demetrios Michalopoulos
California State University, Fullerton
Fiber optic link tested for missile guidance role
Hughes Aircraft Company is developing a fiber optics communications system for the US Army that will enable a safely concealed gunner to remotely direct a guided missile to a battlefield target. Hughes and its principal subcontractor, ITT Electro-Optical Products Division, are working on techniques to enable communication between an airborne missile and a gunner at the launch site via a fine fiberoptic thread. Program of ficials say the system has the potential to provide the basis for a lowcost lock-on-after-launch anti-armor missile with extended range and immunity to enemy countermeasures.
The concept calls for a missile with an imaging seeker in its nose to be fired in the direction of a known enemy force. The scene viewed by the missile is communicated to a gunner over a single strand of the optical fiber, which is payed out from a spool in the aft of the missile. The gunner views the scene on a video-type display and selects target and guidance commands, which are automatically transmitted to the missile over the fiber-optic link.
The most promising aspect of a fiber-optic missile communications system is its ability to transmit the wide-band signals required for video images. While metal wire or coaxial cable is capable of transmitting such signals, they are not suitable for tactical missile ap- plications because of bulk, lack of strength, or other operational limitations. There are several other advantages to the fiber-optic missile:
Lower missile cost and an increase in system reliability are possible because much of the data processing is done at the launcher, enabling the on-board electronics to be simplified.
Optical signals cannot be detected or jammed.
The missile's lock-on-after-launch capability allows it to be launched from either ground vehicles or helicopters without exposing the crews to enemy fire.
With the missile's entire flight under control of a gunner, there is greater confidence in
target selection than with some other lock-onafter-launch concepts.
Fiber optics lends itself to a variety of seekers, including infrared for operation at night or in the smoke and dust of a battlefield situation.
Early in the program, Hughes and ITT overcame two of the system's primary technological hurdles: the development and fabrication of long lengths of a thin (300 microns) fiber- optic cable with unusually high tensile streng...