FARNBOROUGH: Ash-detector to feature in Elbit vision system

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Israeli firm Elbit Systems is to incorporate newly-developed volcanic ash detection technology into its cockpit enhanced-vision systems.

It has sealed a tentative exclusive co-operation agreement with Norwegian company Nicarnica Aviation, which came up with the AVOID detector.

The forward-looking detector is designed to pick out concentrations of volcanic ash up to 100km ahead of an aircraft.

Elbit says it will implement the technology into its ClearVision enhanced-vision system. The company disclosed the agreement during the Farnborough air show.

“The combined solution will enable pilots to avoid flying into contaminated areas while still maintaining safe operation in areas influenced by volcanic eruptions,” says Elbit.

Nicarnica has demonstrated that its equipment is able to detect Saharan dust as well as ash. Chief executive Ove Bratsberg says the pact with Elbit will bring the company closer to offering on-board equipment “within the shortest possible time”.

UK budget carrier EasyJet had spearheaded trials of the AVOID system, and intends to be the first carrier to install the equipment once production begins in 2015.

Engineering director Ian Davies says the Elbit pact is a "tangible and significant step" towards turning the detector from a concept into a usable avionics system.