Many applications, including military, medical, and security, have a requirement for small, low-power, low-cost pattern recognition systems that are capable of locating and identifying targets or anomalies. Optical correlators can perform two-dimensional pattern recognition at greater rates than digital platforms of equivalent size, power and/or weight. The patented Miniature Ruggedized Optical Correlator (MROCTM) has been built to meet the environmental, size, power, and weight requirements of rugged military and commercial applications, and at a cost that will permit wide deployment of the capability. The third generation of the optical correlator (MROCTM III) includes a ferro-electric liquid crystal (FLC) spatial light modulator (SLM) device in both the input plane and the filter plane, and an improved block design that results in both high light efficiency and very fast operational speed. This new correlator design has a reduced volume of approximately 260 cubic centimeters. The MROC III module, which includes all drive electronics and interfaces developed for the MROC II, is a 6U VME module that now occupies only four VME card slots compared to the 5 slots required for MROC I and MROC II. In this paper we will provide a brief review of the MROC architecture and present sample results for the MROC III. Our initial tests demonstrated very high correlation levels, i.e. excellent discrimination (SNR approximately equals 50), at pattern matching rates of 1920 correlations per second (cps).© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.