Sierra Nevada to flight test synthetic vision to help helicopter pilots land in zero visibility

Posted by John Keller

FORT EUSTIS, Va., 12 June 2013. U.S. Army helicopter avionics experts say they plan to ask Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, Nev., to integrated and test a prototype synthetic-vision system on a Sikorsky UH-60 helicopter that is designed to help helicopter pilots land safely in zero-visibility conditions.

Officials of the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate of the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command at Fort Eustis, Va., have announced their intention to award contract worth between $2 million and $8 million to Sierra Nevada to integrate and test the company's Helicopter Autonomous Landing System (HALS) aboard an Army UH-60A/L helicopter.

The Sierra Nevada HALS avionics uses a 3D image-rendering 94 GHz pulsed radar, global positioning system (GPS), inertial sensors, and cockpit displays to help helicopter pilots view geographic features outside the aircraft during brownouts and whiteouts from dust, snow, or other visual impairments.

Landing a helicopter in choking dust or blinding snow can be particularly difficult because pilots can become disoriented easily near the ground as they lose view of the horizon and other visual cues.

The HALS system uses radar data translated to color graphic representations on cockpit displays to help helicopter pilots control the aircraft's roll, pitch, and yaw based on radar-generated graphic representations of the ground and nearby geographic features in zero-visibility conditions.

Sierra Nevada Corp. has been developing a 94 GHz imaging radar system for synthetic-vision helicopter landing aids since 2005. Army officials say Sierra Nevada is uniquely qualified to integrate and test the HALS prototype on an Army helicopter, and so plan to award this contract sole-source.

Sierra Nevada experts will develop HALS software and sensors in support of the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) mitigation effort, Army officials say.

Sierra Nevada will integrate government-furnished radome, two cockpit displays, and radar system electrical harness interface aboard the test UH-60 helicopter. The company also will perform software updates, imagery system enhancements, and engineering support for ground and flight testing.

The HALS avionics enables helicopter pilots to take off, land, and fly in all degraded visual conditions, provides visual situational awareness to enable pilots to see and avoid wires, cables, and terrain, and well as follow landmarks in poor visibility.

The system also includes Brownout Symbology Software (BOSS), precise guidance to landing in zero visibility, and safe transition from visual to instrument flying conditions.

For more information contact Sierra Nevada Corp. online at www.sncorp.com, or the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate at www.aatd.eustis.army.mil.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE