Surface Optics Awarded Phase I NAVAIR SBIR Grant to Develop Multispectral Imaging System for Detection of UAVs

Surface Optics announced it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to develop a spectral imaging system for the detection of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The capability to detect, track, classify and ultimately neutralize the UAV threat is becoming increasingly important due to the accelerated commercial development of UAV systems. Traditionally, radar systems are used to detect and track aircraft at long ranges; however, the performance for UAVs is reduced due to their low radar cross-section, size, and flight altitude. This grant will support research on the application of Surface Optics’s video-rate multispectral imaging technology for detecting, acquiring, and tracking UAVs during counter UAV surveillance that cannot otherwise be detected using current conventional imaging or radar.

The proposed sensor will use mid-wave to longwave infrared (MWIR/LWIR) imaging for high signal-to-noise detection within various environmental backgrounds, including the presence of fog, clouds, and aerosols.

“Receiving this NAVAIR SBIR is a valuable opportunity for our company to adapt our video-rate spectral imaging technology to deliver new counter-drone capability for the Navy and build upon the advancement of this technology achieved under previous SBIRs,” said Jonathan Dummer, CEO of Surface Optics. “We’ve got a truly unique design that has great advantages over existing hyperspectral systems when operating in the infrared and the resources to deliver a complete solution in a phase two [SBIR].”

Surface Optics video-rate spectral imaging technology is sold commercially under the LightShift™ brand and has previously been used to monitor methane emissions at oil and gas production facilities.

The announcement of this grant comes at an exciting time of growth for Surface Optics. The company recently completed construction of an expanded manufacturing facility and acquired capital equipment to bring greater electro-optic engineering ability in-house and accelerate the development time of custom EO/IR systems.

NAVAIR Public Release 2021-164 Distribution Statement A – ‘Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited’

Surface Optics Corporation
11555 Rancho Bernardo Rd.
San Diego CA, 92127

Office: 858-675-7404

Celebrating over 40 years as a global leader in technology for optical property characterization, Surface Optics Corporation (SOC) offers a single engineering and manufacturing source for solutions requiring analysis or control of optical properties. Founded in 1977, providing optical property measurement services, Surface Optics now specializes in advanced imaging systems and surface engineering solutions for the world’s research, aerospace, defense, semiconductor, energy, and automotive companies.