PAS 2011: BAE Systems completes BLAST testing
BAE Systems has added its voice to the myriad of companies offering terrain awareness products that aim to mitigate the effects of helicopter brownout.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Paul Cooke, defence avionics' director of business development, said the company had recently completed testing of its Brownout Landing Aid System Technology (BLAST) system at the Yuma Proving Ground.
The company is now preparing a final report for the Department of Defense (DoD) on the performance of the system, which is expected to be submitted by the end of the month.
While no central DoD office is currently charged with the issue of brownout - unlike the approach taken with improvised explosive devices, for example - with the problem still claiming lives in Afghanistan, several companies have been developing terrain awareness systems that address the problem.
Cooke said that BAE's solution features the integration of a low-cost, lightweight 94GHz sensor with monopulse processing. The system can provide a 3D or top-down view of a landing site, with the image provided as a 'heads down' LCD multifunction display or via the company's Q-Sight helmet mounted display.
'There are a lot of competing technologies and solutions out there and we are really waiting to see which way the DoD decides to go,' Cooke said. 'We think we have a pretty compelling solution; the system is in production now and we are hoping to get it into service.'
Meanwhile, the company is also moving ahead with the latest version of its Q-Sight helmet mounted display. Cooke said the company was hoping to complete safety of flight qualifications of the newest iteration of the system by the end of the month.'
Q-Sight clips onto current flight helmets and projects flight, mission and targeting information to the user through company-patented holographic technology.
Although primarily designed with for the flying crew, Q-Sight was adapted by BAE Systems for the gunner's role for the Royal Navy, where it will be issued to Lynx Mk8 helicopter door gunners.
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