Length: 2 Days
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Fundamentals, IRST Sensor Fundamentals

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Fundamentals | IRST Sensor Fundamentals

The Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system is a rising star with the DoD.

Infrared Search and Track systems are becoming essential elements of advanced fifth generation aircrafts to detect ultra-stealthy targets like F-22.

IRST sensors are also playing a key role in detecting heat sinking missiles and to locate and destroy enemy forces in a radar-denied environment.

One of the big advantages of using infrared search and track systems over standard radar is IRST’s thermographic camera. This technology renders a passive state, meaning IRST systems do not give out any radiation of their own, unlike radar. This gives IRST the advantage that they are difficult to detect.

Experts in this area insist that infrared search and track technology promises enhances sensor suites for next-generation fighter aircraft, especially when it comes to spotting stealth aircraft without using radar.

IRST systems are also exploring holographic sensing systems known as Multi-Aperture Infrared (MAIR). This differs from past systems in that it uses multiple IR cameras around a platform to aid detection and tracking of targets and threats, rather than just a single aperture as on traditional systems.

While a kind of precursor to IRST existed back in the 1990s, the technological advances have been considerable. Today, an IRST system may also have a regular magnified optical sight slaved to it, to help the IRST-equipped aircraft identify the target at long range.

As opposed to an ordinary forward looking infrared system, an IRST system will actually scan the space around the aircraft similarly to the way in which mechanically (or even electronically) steered radars work.

The exception to the scanning technique is the F-35’s DAS, which stares in all directions simultaneously, and automatically detects and declares aircraft and missiles in all directions, without a limit to the number of targets simultaneously tracked.

When they find one or more potential targets they will alert the pilot(s) and display the location of each target relative to the aircraft on a screen, much like a radar.

Similarly to the way a radar works, the operator can tell the IRST to track a particular target of interest, once it has been identified, or scan in a particular direction if a target is believed to be there.

While IRST systems are most common amongst aircraft, land-based, ship and submarine systems are available.

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Training

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Fundamentals Course by Tonex

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Fundamentals, IRST Sensor Fundamentals is a 2-day course that covers the key concepts and technologies behind infrared search and track (IRST) systems and sensors. Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems are classified as passive infrared systems to detect, locate, and track objects. Participants will learn about IRST system analysis, requirements, design, verification and validation (V&V), reliability and availability, and system performance.

Tonex’s Infrared search and track (IRST), a 2-day technical training, covers the foundation of Infrared search and track (IRST) systems and sensors, theory of operations, modeling, simulation, performance evaluation, test procedures, and test result interpretations.

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensing is a method to detect and track objects emitting infrared radiation, such as jet aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and more. IRTS systems are widely used in security and surveillance in military and national defense fields, especially when stealth aircraft are found without radar.

The biggest advantage of IRST systems is that they do not emit any infrared radiation of their own, which makes them difficult to detect, which is different from radars that emit their own infrared characteristics.

Infrared search and track (IRST) system is a passive information acquisition and processing system. It searches and tracks incoming threat targets such as missiles and aircraft by receiving the infrared radiation of the target and its background.

Who Should Attend?

Target Audience:  The intended audience for this training are professionals who want to know more about Infrared Sensors and Infrared search and track (IRST) systems capabilities.

This course is designed for engineers, designers, scientists, analysts, defense professionals, technical program managers and technicians.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  • Learn the underlying principles behind sensors and associated technologies
  • Learn basics of Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensors, use cases and the theory of operation
  • Explain the basis and operation Infrared search and track (IRST) based sensor systems and their data processors, radar and advanced targeting
  • Explore the importance of Infrared search and track (IRST) technology and system applications
  • Review and list the underlying principles of Infrared Search and Track (IRST systems engineering and component design
  • List the major components and technologies of IRST systems, IRST system components Line Replaceable Units (LRU), Sensor Head Unit (SHU) and Processor Unit (PU)
  • Explain basics of Infrared search and track (IRST) sensor modeling, simulation, testing, and evaluation processes
  • Derive requirements for Infrared search and track (IRST) system models, ISR applications, Infrared search and track (IRST) Sensors, weapons, Electronic Warfare (EW) Systems and data fusion
  • List major system design and performance parameters and issues
  • Explain the verification and validation process for Infrared search and track (IRST) sensors, applications, and data processors
  • Evaluate and select the best Infrared search and track (IRST) sensor solutions for any given operational scenario
  • List the key impact of environmental processes affecting EO-IR system operation
  • Explain technology and operational trends in Infrared search and track (IRST) system performance

Method of Learning

The class consists of pedagogical elements that are interwoven to maximize the use of individual, group, and class time. These elements include lectures, in-class activities, group assignments, and problem scenarios to role play and find solutions.

Courses Material, Tools, and Guides:

  • Course Student Guide
  • Exercises and Workshops Guide
  • Training Resources: Best Practices, Lessons Learned, Guides, Handbooks, Templates, Examples, and Tools
  • Cheat Sheets

Course Schedule/Outline:

Introduction to Infrared Sensors

  • Basic Infrared (IR) Concepts
  • Techniques, processes, and technologies to detect, classify/identify, and localize/geolocate air, sea-surface, and ground targets
  • Infrared systems range of distinct technologies
  • Targets and mission to be accomplished
  • Target and the choice of spectral band
  • IR Targeting
  • IR Search and Tracking
  • Missions with point targets and fully imaged targets
  • Radiation Physics
  • Target & Background Signatures
  • Atmospheric Considerations

Introduction to Infrared Search and Track (IRST)

  • Infrared search and track (IRST) Use Cases
  • Fighter aircraft
  • Warships
  • Army UAVs and unmanned ground vehicles
  • Military monitoring surveillance for front-line combat bases
  • System design
  • Infrared Search and Track (IRST)
  • Component
  • IRST performance metrics
  • IRST operational principles and constraints
  • IRST system engineering and requirement drivers
  • IRST performance analysis methods
  • Test and evaluation techniques

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Theory of Operation

  • Remote sensing of ultraviolet, visible, and IR electromagnetic energy
  • Introduction IR Systems and Missions
  • Expendables and Decoys
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Black Body Radiation
  • Non-Imaging IR Systems (Point Targets)
  • Theoretical background
  • Applications in airborne military applications
  • Target detection, target acquisition, target tracking, reconnaissance, ground mapping, airfield damage assessment, navigation, communications
  • Countermeasures, and weapons delivery
  • Tracking
  • IR Sensor Test and Evaluation
  • IR Sensor Performance Evaluation

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Sensor System Engineering and High-Level Design/Architecture 

  • System engineering principles
  • EO-IR system overview and components
  • System performance metrics
  • Environmental effects on EO-IR
  • Optical design elements
  • Detector technologies
  • Data and image analysis
  • Test and evaluation principles
  • Application survey
  • Technology trends

Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Sensor ConOps, Requirements, and System Design Principals

  • IRST ConOps
  • IRST Requirements
  • Thermal Radiation Contrast
  • Shading & Narcissus Control
  • Cold Shields & Cold Filters
  • Aberrations & Resolution Control
  • Scanning & Dither Techniques
  • Detection Mechanism Overview
  • Thermal & Quantum Detectors
  • Evaluation Tools
  • System Performance Analysis
  • Minimum Resolvable Temperature (MRT)
  • Contrast Threshold Function (CTF)
  • Signature Generation Mechanisms
  • Target Characteristics
  • Properties of Scenes &Targets (completed)
  • Backgrounds & Clutter
  • Clutter Metrics
  • System Requirements Flowdown
  • Recent Developments in Modeling & Analysis
  • Overlooked or Incorrect Analytical Assumptions

IRST Sensor Evaluation 

  • Merit Functions
  • Uncooled Microbolometer Principles
  • Focal Plane Array Fabrication, Operability, & Yield
  • Modulation Transfer Functions (MTF) Aperiodic Transfer Functions (ATF)
  • Typical System MTFs & Super Resolution
  • Cascading MTFs
  • Performance Prediction Models

Advanced Topics (Workshop)

  • Analysis of Detection Range and performance of an IRST sensor
  • Clouds
  • Altitude
  • Air temperature
  • Target’s attitude
  • Target’s speed
  • Optics modulation transfer function (MTF)
  • Infrared search and tracking system bands
  • 3-5 micron medium wave infrared
  • 8-14 micron long wave infrared
  • Medium wave infrared detection system
  • Targets with high temperature, such as engine tail nozzle
  • Infrared detection to detect the heat of aircraft external stores, body, skin and wake
  • Electronic detection and RF Countermeasures
  • Mid or Long Wave IR
  • Long range detection
  • Wide scan volume
  • Selectable Field Of View (FOV)
  • Detection and tracking of a high number of targets
  • Algorithms for low false alarm rate
  • Dual IR band detector and sensor fusion with radar
  • Passive Ranging
  • Outputs Digital (ARINC 818), Analog (STANAG 3350)
  • MIL-STD-1553, Customized I/O
  • Search and Track Air-to-Air
  • Scan (S-TWS) Air-to-Ground
  • Air-to-Sea
  • Embedded data recording capability


Request More Information

Please enter contact information followed by your questions, comments and/or request(s):
  • Please complete the following form and a Tonex Training Specialist will contact you as soon as is possible.

    * Indicates required fields

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Request More Information

  • Please complete the following form and a Tonex Training Specialist will contact you as soon as is possible.

    * Indicates required fields

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.