First flight US Black Hawk HH-60L MEDEVAC with integrated TopOwl and Pathfinder
Thales [has] announced that, as a member of the Lockheed Pathfinder team, its TopOwl helmet-mounted display is currently integrated with the Pathfinder advanced pilotage system on a US Army HH-60L Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter at Felker Army Airfield, Fort Eustis, VA (USA).
Lockheed Martin selected the Thales TopOwl helmet in 2007 to be part of this prestigious programme to give utility helicopter pilots the same night flying visibility that attack pilots have flown in the Apache Attack Helicopter for decades. TopOwl is the only binocular helmet-mounted system in production that could display the total clarity and contrast of the Pathfinder sensor. Teaming this beyond-state-of-the-art helmet with the most advanced piloting sensor in the world also decreases combat helicopter loss due to brownout during operations.
Brad Foreman, head of Thales's aerospace activities in the US commented, "in a "brownout" situation, there is a fleeting glimpse of the terrain for a mere second and the pilot just can't waste time looking for information within the cockpit, hence the utility of the TopOwl helmet. The pilot stays positioned: head-up, eyes out, with images coming from the sensors".
Lockheed Martin selected Thales because the two industry leaders have been able to combine the high-resolution forward-looking infrared camera, or FLIR, with an equally high-resolution helmet as the primary pilotage device. This Pathfinder sensor can display full motion video integrated with aircraft instrument data directly onto the visor of the TopOwl helmet, which means that the crew keep their eyes out of the cockpit, thereby reducing their workload, and allowing them to operate with increased safety. The TopOwl/Pathfinder system demonstrates advanced operational efficiency in brownout, night and bad weather situations through high quality imaging in addition to high accuracy head tracking and high resolution LCD displays.
Thales is the designer and supplier of TopOwl, the most advanced Helicopter piloting helmet-mounted display system available in the world. TopOwl is currently in full-scale production and has been selected by 15 nations including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Finland, Norway, USA, Belgium, Oman and the Netherlands. More than 1500 will be delivered over the next 10 years for the programs already under contract.
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