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BAE Anti-Brownout Radar to Fly on UH-60
This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
A BAE Systems anti-brownout radar is to be flown on a U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60 testbed to reduce risk in development of a sensor-fusion-based synthetic-vision system for rotorcraft operations in degraded visual environments.
BAE's Brownout Landing Aid Technology (Blast) system is a lightweight, 94-GHz millimeter-wave radar (MMW) derived from the MBDA Brimstone missile seeker.
The sensor will be used as a surrogate for an advanced MMW radar being developed under the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (Darpa) Multi-Function Radio Frequency (MFRF) program.
Blast will be flown on the UH-60 to stimulate the synthetic-vision avionics backbone being developed by Rockwell Collins under the MFRF program. Honeywell is developing a similar system.
The avionics backbone is designed to fuse data from any available sensors with an onboard digital terrain and obstacle database and generate a three-dimensional synthetic-vision display for the pilots.
The multi-mode MMW radar being developed under MFRF will not be available until 2014, so flights with Blast will enable Rockwell Collins to begin exercising the sensor-fusion algorithms.
Tests with an interim radar could also provide an early off-ramp from the MFRF program, enabling the fielding of a synthetic-vision system with see-through sensor as a brownout landing aid.
Darpa previously flew a Sierra Nevada Corp. 94-GHz radar and Honeywell synthetic-vision display under the Sandblaster anti-brownout program, but decided the device was too heavy for fielding.
The complete Blast system weighs 25-30 lb., says Vernon Fronek, BAE business development manager. This compares with 120 lb. for the Sandblaster prototype, and a projected 60 lb. in production, according to Darpa figures.
Credit: SSGT SUZANNE M. JENKINS, USAF