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DARPA to Enhance Helicopter's Visiblity
DARPA’s Multifunction RF (MFRF) program seeks to enhance the survivability and combat effectiveness of helicopters facing degraded visibility. The program aims to develop multifunction sensor technology that would enable sensor packages small, light and efficient enough for installation on existing and future helicopter designs. MFRF completed successful flight demonstrations on a UH-60L Black Hawk combat helicopter to demonstrate the Synthetic Vision Avionics Backbone (SVAB) technology portion of the program. The SVAB technology demonstration fused millimeter-wave radar with multiple terrain databases and onboard platform navigation to create high-resolution 2-D and 3-D visualizations of local environmental conditions. Pilots referred to the visualizations in real time to distinguish terrain features (slope, roughness, landing suitability), detect objects in a landing zone, detect and avoid obstacles, and navigate in GPS-denied conditions. The software architecture of the SVAB also demonstrated plug-and-play sensor control and display.