CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, 6 June 2012. Rockwell Collins [NYSE: COL], an avionics and communications development and deployment company, has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the synthetic vision avionics backbone for next-generation helicopter operations under the multi-function radio frequency (MFRF) program.
Rockwell Collins teamed up with BAE Systems for the first two phases of the $5.1 million contract. An optional third phase would bring the contract value to $6 million.
The DARPA MFRF contract calls for Rockwell Collins to develop a 3D synthetic vision-based imagery system that will be used with multifunction radar. Rockwell Collins will fuse radar data with terrain and obstacle data to produce an integrated 3D view of the operational environment.
Synthetic vision systems are a computer-mediated reality system for aerial vehicles that use 3D to provide pilots with means for understanding their environment. These systems provide situational awareness by offering information on a vehicle's flight path and hazards in the area. The first synthetic vision system was tested on a Gulfstream V aircraft in 2005.
The Army Black Hawk synthetic vision flight tests were conducted in conjunction with a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Rockwell Collins and the U.S. Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. The agreement calls for Rockwell Collins to provide its CAAS cockpit as a test bed, enabling the Army to develop and demonstrate new technology for warfighters.