New Rockwell Collins technology to aid U.S. Army Special Operations helicopter pilots operating in degraded visual

The U.S. Army has awarded Rockwell Collins the first of three phases in a program to develop the Degraded Visual Environment Pilotage System (DVEPS) for the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) helicopters. The goal of the three-phase program is to develop and qualify a DVE solution that can be fielded by 2018.

“This program will give pilots something they’ve never had before – the ability to see through DVE obscurants, such as dust, fog, and snow and successfully avoid hazards in the landing zone,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager of Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Our synthetic vision and sensor fusion technology will provide SOAR pilots with enhanced pilotage capabilities, resulting in safer operations and increased probability of mission success and aircraft survivability.”

Brunk added that Rockwell Collins continues to build on its unique relationship with Special Operations Aviation that has developed over the last 20 years “by working with them to develop a situational awareness solution their pilots can trust.”

The DVEPS solution is fully compatible with the existing Common Avionics Architecture System featured on the U.S. Army’s MH-47G and MH-60M helicopters, as well as many other tactical helicopter avionics systems and will assist pilots to safely fly in degraded visual environments. In addition, the DVEPS system will help improve visual cues enabling pilots to maintain correct attitude and speeds during landing in degraded visual environments.

“Our approach is to offer a scalable system that will allow affordable reuse by other DoD rotorcraft operators,” said Brunk.

A key component of the DVEPS solution is Rockwell Collins’ Synthetic Vision Avionics Backbone (SVAB) system, which has been successfully demonstrated with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on its Multi-Function Radio Frequency program. The SVAB system utilizes advanced data processing algorithms to smartly fuse 3D synthetic vision-based imagery with lightweight DVE sensors, such as millimeter wave radar or LIDAR. The fused 3D imagery will be utilized in the DVEPS program, along with improved pilotage symbology to provide an unprecedented view of the operational environment and flight guidance for enroute, approach, and hover phases of flight.

Source / Author: Rockwell Collins