BAE Tests Cable and Obstacle Detection System for Helicopters

5/9/2007 - WAYNE, NJ — BAE Systems has completed flight testing of a prototype lightweight, all-weather cable and obstacle detection system. The system uses radar to identify cables and other obstacles and provides precise altimeter information to military helicopter pilots.

Cable and obstacles are common causes of helicopter accidents. BAE Systems is the first company to demonstrate a lightweight, cost-effective all weather cable detection system.

Based on BAE Systems’ analysis of helicopter incidents since 1980, the company estimates that equipping the U.S. rotary-wing fleet with this capability would save the military more than $500 million over 10 years. “This technology has the potential to yield significant cost savings by reducing the occurrence of helicopter crashes,” said Joseph McCarthy, BAE Systems vice president of Communications and Tactical Networks in Wayne, New Jersey. “Most important is its potential to save lives.”

The system detects cables and other obstacles using low-probability-of-intercept, low-probability-of-detection radar technology. BAE Systems developed the test program with input from multiple government agencies and performed the evaluation in Arlington, Texas, using Bell Helicopter’s new 430 test aircraft.

“Our pilots are extremely impressed with the operation of the system,” said Vince Tobin, program director at Bell Helicopter. “Bell Helicopter is anxious to support the completion of the development and offer this important capability to our customers.”

The system weighs less than 8 pounds, plus antennas, and can detect unknown obstacles at distances greater than 2.5 km. It is operational day or night and in all types of weather. BAE Systems also is developing a commercial version of the system.

Source: BAE Systems Press Release

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