Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance - Technical Description - Processing


A monitor in the cockpit displays detailed images in real time, and the system also logs the image and Global Positioning System data at a rate of 30 Gigabytes (GB) per hour for later analysis. The on-board data processing system performs numerous real-time processing functions including data acquisition and recording, raw data correction, target detection, cueing and chipping, precision image geo-registration, and display and dissemination of image products and target cue information.

ARCHER has three methods for locating targets:

  • signature matching where reflected light is matched to spectral signatures
  • anomaly detection using a statistical model of the pixels in the image to determine the probability that a pixel does not match the profile, and
  • change detection which executes a pixel-by-pixel comparison of the current image against ground conditions that were obtained in a previous mission over the same area.

In change detection, scene changes are identified, and new, moved or departed targets are highlighted for evaluation. In spectral signature matching, the system can be programmed with the parameters of a missing aircraft, such as paint colors, to alert the operators of possible wreckage. It can also be used to look for specific materials, such as petroleum products or other chemicals released into the environment, or even ordinary items like commonly available blue polyethylene tarpaulins. In an impact assessment role, information on the location of blue tarps used to temporarily repair buildings damaged in a storm can help direct disaster relief efforts; in a counterdrug role, a blue tarp located in a remote area could be associated with illegal activity.

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