Automated Intensifier Measurement System (AIMS) Correlation Upgrade Support

NCMS Project #: 140500

Problem: The Automated Intensifier Measurement System (AIMS) is a fully automated test set which has the ability to replace outdated manual test equipment currently in use by the government and industry.  There are 900,000 image intensifier tubes (IITs) in the field presently.  Annually 10,000 of these tubes are returned from the field and destroyed due to insufficient testing verification.  However, IITs that were classified for demilitarization (destruction) in the field have successfully passed MIL-specs in both manual and AIMS re-evaluations.

Benefit: With these upgrades completed as per scheduled key milestones, the enhanced AIMS will correlate with NVESD Standards and will have been tested by NVESD, thus poised to become the government standard for all 21 of the primary IIT inspections consistent with the MIL-SPEC.

Additional insertion of the AIMS into the IIT logistics chain is expected to significantly increase readiness, reduce test times, reduce destruction of good tubes, and reduce the backlog of new tube purchases.

Solution/Approach: AIMS uses sophisticated machine-vision algorithms to quantitatively measure performance of IITs.  The simple-to-use, menu-driven, graphical-user interface eliminates the expense of highly trained technicians making manual measurements and judgment calls subject to human operator error.  A single tube can be run through all tests, including a repeatable autofocus and autoexposure routine in approximately 16 minutes vs. 2-16 hours for a comparable set of manual measurements.  AIMS provides better repeatability and reproducibility, saves hours of testing time and allows the reuse of tubes instead of disposal.  AIMS reduces backlog.

The Phase I AIMS project successfully demonstrated the value of improved test capability in reducing de-militarization of IITs returned as failures but still passing Ma-Spec.  The Phase I AIMS System has been thoroughly evaluated and the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) has recommended upgrades.

Penn State EOC will incorporate NVESD recommended upgrades to the AIMS system based on current efforts underway with NVESD.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Ensure access to optimal quantities of NVDs due to reduction in current nearly two-year backlog, to support mission readiness.
  • Returning tubes that were subject to demilitarization but fully functional to the warfighter is estimated to save $15-22M annually to the Government.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army (TYAD)

Industry Participation:

  • Penn State ARL, Electro-Optics Center (EOC)
  • NCMS

Final Report