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BAE SYSTEMS Seeks Helicopter Landing Breakthrough

13 Sep 2005

Landing helicopters safely in conditions currently considered too dangerous or impossible may soon be a regular occurrence as the result of new a helicopter landing aid sensor under development by BAE Systems in Australia.

The helicopter landing aid sensor will increase the operational envelope for landing in poor visibility conditions which cause aircrew to experience spatial disorientation such as brown-out, white-out and darkness – conditions in which it is usually not possible to land. The sensor should also be able to detect dangerous conditions in the landing zone such as rocks and ditches of a size which could potentially damage the aircraft.

A concept technology demonstrator will use 3D synthetic vision to add further capability to BAE Systems laser radar based Eagle-OWL obstacle warning sensor. Using existing pilot displays, the landing area will be presented on an intuitive display using 3D synthetic vision to maintain the pilot’s orientation and situational awareness.

“This system could provide an expanded operational envelope for night, poor weather and desert operations,” said business development manager John Pitman. “There are no systems available today which map terrain with sufficient accuracy to enable landings in brown/white-out conditions.”

This type of system is applicable to the Blackhawk, Chinook, armed reconnaissance helicopter and MRH-90 troop lift helicopter operated by Army Aviation in Australia. BAE Systems has also recently responded to a request for information for the US Army for this type of system for its Blackhawk fleet.

The development and evaluation of the combined system is anticipated to be completed in 2007.


BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea, and in space. The Company designs, manufactures, and supports military aircraft, combat vehicles, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, and guided weapon systems. It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years and is at the forefront of innovation, working to develop the next generation of intelligent defence systems. BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The Company employs over 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately 14.8 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations.

For further information, please contact:

Shelley Mearns, BAE SYSTEMS Australia
Tel: +61 (0) 8 8480 7211, Mob: +61 (0) 402 890 760

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