Passive millimeter wave (pmmW) imagers are quickly becoming practical sensor candidates for military and nonmilitary tasks. Our focus was to adapt the Night Vision [U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, Communications and Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center, Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate (NVESD)] passive thermal infrared imager performance models and apply them to pmmW imaging systems for prediction of field performance for the task of small watercraft and boat identification. The Night Vision Lab’s infrared sensor model has been evolving since the 1950s, with the most current model being NVThermIP [Night Vision Thermal and Image Processing (NVThermIP) Model Users Manual, Rev. 9 (U.S. Army RDECON, CERDEC, NVESD, 2006)]. It has wide recognition as an engineering tool for sensor evaluation. This effort included collecting pmmW signatures for a representative set of targets, conducting an observer perception experiment, and deriving the task difficulty criteria that can be used in NVThermIP for identification of boats. The task difficulty criteria are used by designers and managers to create systems capable of meeting specific performance criteria in the field.
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