The Society of Flight Test Engineers 




6. Sensor Fusion

Dr. Tom Frey

Lockheed Martin Technical Fellow

  Sensor Fusion on a fighter aircraft is a transformational capability.  A fully realized fusion system gathers information from all available data sources to provide a robust and accurate representation of the location, identity, and status of all entities in the environment.  But what is sensor fusion and how does it work?  What is 5th generation fusion and how is it different from other systems who advertise a fusion capability?  What are the challenges to designing, building, and testing fusion?  How do you go about testing fusion and how do you know when it is working correctly?
  This tutorial will explore the motivation for and the benefits of fusion and delve into the basic design components of an aircraft fusion system including sensor preprocessing, correlation, estimation, identification, and sensor management.   Emphasis is placed on developing an intuitive feel for each component and an understanding of the fundamental design decisions and related implications to system performance.  Finally, some methods for testing and evaluating fusion systems are explored.