The mission of CapTech Electro Optical Sensors Technologies (EOST), also referred to as CapTech “Optronics”, is to support the participating Member States in research and technology (R&T) initiatives in the field of Optronics, responding to agreed defence capability needs and with the purpose of generating collaborative R&T projects.
CapTech Optronics promotes and manages R&T activities of underpinning technologies in the following technological areas:
- Passive/Active multi/hyper spectral imaging system design and analysis
- Optical signal and image enhancement and processing
- Technologies for EO/IR signature measurement and reduction
- Directed energy technologies including high energy laser weapons
- Modelling of the environment and system performance prediction
- EO counter measure systems
- Data fusion and system integration
- Quantum Optronics
The work of CapTech Optronics is generally of TRL in the ranges of 2 to 5 and it addresses the following capabilities needs:
- (Intelligence), surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance [(I)STAR ] for land, naval, space and air scenarios
- Protection of own forces and non-combatants (Counter IED, signature reduction, EO counter (counter) measure)
- Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)
- Earth observation and space/maritime situational awareness
- CBRN stand-off detection
The technologies of this Captech hold a high potential for both exploring dual-use and assessing further cooperation with other EDA CapTechs (radar, components, materials, Guidance Navigation and control [GNC], informationand aerial, ground, naval, and ammunition systems). In addition, the work performed is fundamental in the definition of research and technology topics for the European Defence Fund (EDF) EU programme.
To become an Optronics CapTech member (CapTech Governmental Expert – CGE - or CapTech non-Governmental Expert - CnGE), please follow the instructions included in the EDA CapTechs general site, and be aware that your request will be forwarded to the relevant CapTech National Coordinator - CNC. The approval of the CNC will be needed to become a CGE or CnGE, and also for your participation in a CapTech event. To become an CapTech Optronics member (CGE or CnGE), please contact us at: CapTech.Optronics@eda.europa.eu.
The main operational and technical challenges identified in the CapTech EOST from short to mid-term time frame (from 0 to 5 years and 5 to 10/15 years) are:
- Improvement and development of new algorithms (mainly artificial Intelligence and machine learning) for detection, classification and tracking of difficult targets (small size, high speed, low contract, camouflaged, in degraded visual environment) using active and passive sensors, also in urban/cluttered areas.
- Active and passive sensors for autonomous vehicles and ground surveillance from airborne platforms, also based on quantum technologies.
- Developments in the field of adaptive optics, freeform lenses, meta lenses and meta optics.
- Inclusion of sensors and computational units in small platforms (both military personnel and autonomous vehicles), and Technologies for SWAP-C systems.
- Specialized image processing hardware.
- Development of modelling and simulation tools that allow the training and development of detection, recognition and identification systems.
- Improved vision in complex / degraded environment, also leveraging augmented and virtual reality.
- New weapon and countermeasures technology, including counter-counter measures and ME/HE laser weapons, handling proliferation of MANPADS and RPAS.
- Evolution of specification and qualification methods.
- Development of more operator support.
- Development of new camera systems such as hyperspectral cameras, lensless EO systems, computational imaging, panoramic EO systems, neuromorphic camera, NLOS ghost camera.
- EO/Radar integration.
The activities of the CapTech Electro Optical Sensors Technologies are guided by the Optronics CapTech Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The aim of the SRA is to establish roadmaps for future European investments in the development of military electro-optics. This involves forecasting future civilian technology development in electro-optics relevant to military users, identifying areas where civilian technology development will not be sufficient for the needs of the military user and creating roadmaps for future investments in military supported technology development. The key domains defined through the roadmaps are spectral imaging, passive and active imaging sensors, image processing and enhancement, novel optical configurations, laser weapons, EO countermeasure systems, modelling and simulation, data fusion, and system integration. As technologies evolve very fast in this domain, especially for civilian applications which can also be used for military requirements, the need to update the SRA was identified and currently a version dated 2019 is available. The updated SRA will focus on the perspective of the upcoming 5 – 10 years for which it will outline a project roadmap for R&T investment in the CapTech. It will be set in the context of the military capabilities requiring this technical base, the underpinning civil development trends, and the evolution of the industrial capacity in Europe.
- TBB01 - Hyperspectral/multispectral Imaging System
- TBB02 - Passive Imaging Systems
- TBB03 - Novel optical configuration
- TBB04 - Active Imaging System
- TBB05 - Image enhancement
- TBB06 - Image processing
- TBB07 - EO Counter measure systems
- TBB08 - Laser waepon System
- TBB09 - Modelling and simulation
- TBB10 - Data fusion and system integration
CapTech Optronics’ meetings occur 3 times per year, with a maximum duration of 2 days. All the information is shared in its ECP (EDA Collaboration Platform). The CapTech also organizes workshops or seminars that typically occur back-to-back to the CapTech meetings. The Workshops objectives are to achieve concrete outcomes, such as the preparation of a project or fulfilment of an extraordinary request (topics for calls for proposals, SRA development, technology assessment, etc.) The workshops are “hands-on” and participative. On the other hand, the seminars’ objective is to raise awareness and knowledge about a specific technology identified in the CapTech, while also gaining insight on the potential of said technology for defence applications. Subject matter experts will be invited as speakers. Recently, SME (Small Medium Enterprise) sessions are arranged to allow new promising small industries to present their activities with the aim of encouraging them to join the CapTech.
Based on the SRA, any CapTech member can propose ideas for new activities (projects, workshops, seminars, etc.) at any meeting. The ideas are collected and, if not immediately detailed with clear expression of interest, it is the role of the moderator to persist and revisit what remains to then re-launch or definitively ‘kill’ an idea. The active involvement of non-governmental members in proposing solutions for governmental needs, with a consistent and systematic ground for dialogue can definitely encourage cooperation.
- ARTINDET: Artificial Intelligence for Automatic Target Detection Recognition, Identification (DRI) and Tracking.
- TERRAIN DATA BASE IMPLEMENTATION
- LAWRHA: Laser weapon real time hazard map
- HYPOTENUSE: HYPersOnic Threat dEtection aNd coUntermeaSurEs
- TURBO: Development of software-based atmospheric turbulence mitigation demonstrator
- PASEOS: Prototype architecture of a smart electro-optical sensor suite
- ECOMOS II: The European Computer Model for Optronic system performance prediction II
- DEBELA: Detect before launch
- DVE-DELETE: DVE mitigation by means of Deep lEarning in signaL EnhancemenT and sEnsors management
- QLAMPS - Quantum LAser-based Multi-parametric Portable Sensor
Quantum technologies in Optronics
Quantum technology is an emerging field related to physics and engineering with several applications like quantum cryptography, quantum computing, quantum communication, optical metrology, imaging and sensing, quantum simulation, quantum metrology, gravitational wave detection, quantum radar, clock and network synchronization.
In order to gain a better understanding of the current and potential future usage of quantum technology in defence applications related to Electro-Optical (EO) sensors & systems, the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Capability Technology Group (CapTech) on Electro Optical Sensors technologies (EOST) organised and run a workshop on “Quantum technologies in Optronics” on 12 March 2019 at the Office national d'études et de recherches aérospatiales (ONERA) in Toulouse (France).
The workshop papers have been collected to a proceeding book that you can download at the following link.