Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SPIE



Publication Date



The capabilities of tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads are expanding from single sensor imagers to integrated systems-of-systems architectures. Increasingly, these systems-of-systems include multiple sensing modalities that can act as force multipliers for the intelligence analyst. Currently, the separate sensing modalities operate largely independent of one another, providing a selection of operating modes but not an integrated intelligence product. We describe here a Sensor Management System (SMS) designed to provide a small, compact processing unit capable of managing multiple collaborative sensor systems on-board an aircraft. Its purpose is to increase sensor cooperation and collaboration to achieve intelligent data collection and exploitation. The SMS architecture is designed to be largely sensor and data agnostic and provide flexible networked access for both data providers and data consumers. It supports pre-planned and ad-hoc missions, with provisions for on-demand tasking and updates from users connected via data links. Management of sensors and user agents takes place over standard network protocols such that any number and combination of sensors and user agents, either on the local network or connected via data link, can register with the SMS at any time during the mission. The SMS provides control over sensor data collection to handle logging and routing of data products to subscribing user agents. It also supports the addition of algorithmic data processing agents for feature/target extraction and provides for subsequent cueing from one sensor to another. The SMS architecture was designed to scale from a small UAV carrying a limited number of payloads to an aircraft carrying a large number of payloads. The SMS system is STANAG 4575 compliant as a removable memory module (RMM) and can act as a vehicle specific module (VSM) to provide STANAG 4586 compliance (level-3 interoperability) to a non-compliant sensor system. The SMS architecture will be described and results from several flight tests and simulations will be shown.