A new landing-aid sensor under development in Australia may enable helicopters to land in conditions that cannot currently be attempted.
A concept technology demonstrator from Adelaide- based BAE Systems uses 3-D synthetic vision to enhance its military laser radar-based Eagle-Owl obstacle-warning sensor. Using existing cockpit displays, the technology can now present the landing area on a synthetic-vision screen designed to maintain the pilot’s orientation and situational awareness.
The company claims the sensor increases the operational envelope for landing in poor visibility conditions such as brown-out, white-out and full darkness. It also will be able to detect dangerous conditions such as rocks and ditches in the landing zone.
This type of system is currently applicable to some military helicopters that Army Aviation operates in Australia. BAE Systems has also recently responded to a U.S. Army request for information for this type of system for its Black Hawk fleet.
Development and evaluation of the combined system is anticipated to be completed in 2007.