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.