Low-flying enabler will open envelope for transports

Big transport aircraft fly low, protecting them from many threats. But to fly low they need special tools. The main one is an advanced reliable terrain-following system.

This critical system takes the aircraft to low altitudes, where each “surprise” can end within seconds in an accident.

Elbit Systems and Northrop Grumman are jointly developing a terrain-following and terrain-avoidance (TF/TA) system.

It will enable pilots to fly and manoeuvre more safely in TF/TA flight mode in all weathers, day and night.

The joint effort combines Elbit Systems’ TF/TA head-up display (HUD) with Northrop Grumman’s AN/APN-241 terrain-following radar for an avionic upgrade for existing or new C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. 

The TF/TA HUD demonstrator is expected to fly within the upcoming year on an international customer’s C-130 transport aircraft.

The TF/TA system relies on a digital terrain elevation database and the terrain-following radar as an active sensor, driven and controlled by Elbit Systems’ Smart Displays.

The TF/TA system has already been selected for integration into an ongoing C-130 upgrade programme. Northrop Grumman’s AN/APN-241 radar has been selected as the standard radar for the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and Alenia C-27J transport aircraft. 

Additionally, the AN/APN-241 radar has been integrated and installed on the CASA C-295 transport aircraft.

The new terrain-avoiding systems will open the performance envelope of military transports in a dramatic way. New transport designs, and currently operated ones that are being upgraded, will be capable of a new “set of tricks”. These are crucial in many of the combat scenarios airforces encounter.

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