Flying low is often the best protection for helicopters on military missions. However, when flying just above the ground the problem is how to avoid all the known and unknown obstacles that can hit you just as hard as gunfire.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has recently unveiled helicopter safety technology which enables flight in degraded visual environments and all weather conditions.
Today’s military and paramilitary helicopter missions typically involve flight over environments with a variety of ground obstacles. Such missions are often hampered by a combination of low-altitude obstacles and poor visibility, which may result in accidents and causalities.
IAI says the technology was developed to provide a safe and affordable solution to such operational requirements.
The system features innovative radar, advanced processing algorithms and cockpit multifunction display integration. The technology allows for low-altitude flight under all weather conditions, lighting and visibility, and for safe landing in brown-out conditions by alerting the pilot of electrical power lines and other ground obstacles.
The system generates a synthetic image of the terrain, highlighting flight obstacles such as power lines and their supporting poles or towers.
The system achieves a very high probability of 95% for detection of power lines, and comprises two compact 30 x 40cm antennas. The unit requires only 250W of power, and weighs 30kg. The system has successfully undergone flight tests.