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Trajectory tracker employed at ballistic test ranges.

Specialised Imaging : 03 July, 2007  (Application Story)
Ballistic testing enhanced with high speed video imaging to track projectiles in flight whilst making corrections for unpredicted changes in trajectory.
Specialised Imaging has announced that interest in its Trajectory Tracker system from ballistic testing ranges around the world has resulted in shipments in excess of $1M of product over the last 12 months.

The Trajectory Tracker is the next generation of video projectile tracking system offering high performance and ease of deployment on a sturdy, fully adjustable mount. The system provides consistent and accurate tracking of projectiles in flight using a computer controlled triggered rotating mirror positioned in front of a high-speed Digital Video camera. In order to fully evaluate failure modes of projectiles, it is often necessary to observe their performance over a significant proportion of the trajectory. The Trajectory Tracker allows observations to be made of the behaviour of projectiles in flight for greater than 100 metres with a tracking accuracy of better than 0.2 degrees over its full scan. This slow motion record of a projectile in flight allows accurate diagnosis of events such as fin deployment, motor burn time, pitch, yaw and spin rate.

Reflecting on the success of the Trajectory Tracker - Keith Taylor (Technical Director) of Specialised Imaging commented 'Through targeting our product development in areas of importance outlined by current and potential customers, I believe we have considerably enhanced the product'.

The Trajectory Tracker has been developed such that it can now accurately handle scan rates from 0.25 to 50. This allows much greater flexibility in positioning the system and tracking projectiles over long distances. Due to obstacles or space constraints it is often not possible to locate a video projectile tracking system at the optimum standoff distance. To overcome this problem the Trajectory Tracker can now be rotated with respect to the line-of-fire. The new skewed geometry configuration allows the Trajectory Tracker to be used in situations not previously possible such as tracking projectiles fired at varying elevation angles and tracking fast moving projectiles at speeds of up to 1000 m/s with only a 10 m standoff.

It is often desirable to observe projectile behaviour as close to launch as possible, to do this most systems require an accurate estimate of projectile velocity. With experimental or falling projectiles where the velocity is unpredictable, it has been necessary to use a wide field-of-view or accept that the projectile is lost from view after only a few metres. Using a second detector, a few metres down range to measure velocity, the Trajectory Tracker system is now able to uniquely correct the scan rate and track the projectile. The development of 'in-flight tracking correction' for the first time delivers true 'Trajectory Tracking'.

The Trajectory Tracker system consists of a tracking head with integral mirror control unit, and ruggedised laptop computer. The standard system offers ease of deployment on a sturdy, fully adjustable mount, and includes trigger units, cabling and software for control of both tracking system and camera. Video sequences are archived in industry standard formats. Using advanced control and analysis software the system offers multiple operating modes, including user defined profiles, enabling it to track and analyse large and medium calibre projectiles as well as other objects such as rockets, rocket assisted projectiles, rocket sledges and many forms of smart weaponry. The Trajectory Tracker can be used for both horizontal and elevated projectile firings.

Specialised Imaging is a knowledgeable, dynamic company focused upon design, manufacture, service and supply of ultra high-speed imaging systems and components for industrial, military and scientific applications.
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