Distributed Aperture System Tracks Ballistic Missiles from 1,300 km Away
Manned and unmanned aircraft equipped with omni-directional 'Distributed Aperture System' (DAS) imaging infrared systems could be used effectively to provide early warning on missile launches. Such systems covering a full hemisphere, can spot missiles as they break over the horizon and automatically track their hot flame from long distance, throughout their ascent phase. With such capability the system could offer early warning advantages beyond current 'non traditional ISR', in missile defense and counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) defense. The only aircraft currently equipped with Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-37 DAS is the F-35 Lightning II. However, other platforms could get such capabilities if their missile defense capabilities are proven, to provide early warning triggering other sensors to track ballistic missile after their launch.