MCKINNEY, Texas, 12 Oct. 2009. U.S. Army officials awarded Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) a $13 million contract to develop additional sensor prototypes for the Advanced Distributed Aperture System, which gives helicopter pilots 360-degree situational awareness. The award is the first extension of the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration contract, initially funded in September 2008.
The Army launched the ADAS program to assist pilots flying at low levels. The original system provides as many as six infrared sensors and a combined helmet display showing a full view of the cockpit systems and other parts of the helicopter, including the engines and tail rotor.
Additional capabilities to be provided by Raytheon include an indicator of hostile fire, landing-assist symbols that appear on the helmet display for operation in low visibility, and infrared search-and-track and three-dimensional audio systems.
"These new capabilities improve the helicopter pilot's situational awareness," says Tim Carey, vice president for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. "This high-resolution sensor system prototype has been demonstrated during test flights and has proved to provide the maneuverability and performance that our soldiers need."
Raytheon has performed more than 120 hours of ADAS testing to demonstrate the system's capabilities on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
The system is one of several sensor technologies developed by the company. The Army awarded Raytheon the Objective Pilotage for Utility and Lift program in January 2008. Its primary objective is to develop an affordable lightweight sensor system solution. Depending on customer requirements, OPUL can provide up to five sensors for full situational awareness at low cost. Offering high-resolution images but with an uncooled lightweight sensor system, OPUL is designed primarily to be placed on rotary wing aircraft such as the UH-60 Blackhawk and the CH-47 Chinook.
Raytheon is developing the Advanced Distributed Aperture System with the Army's Research Development and Engineering Command; Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate.