Honeywell has teamed with Coherent Technolgies (CTI) to propose development of a multimode infrared radar (MMIRR) for the US Army to provide helicopter pilots with advance detection of low-level obstacles such as cables and power lines.

The move follows a flight demonstration in conjunction with the US Army Aviation Technical Directorate (AATD). The companies now seek army funding to launch full development and plan to interest the UK in the system.

Having demonstrated elements of MMIRR with its own money, project manager Dick Krulis estimates that engineering manufacturing and development would take 30 months, rather than the usual five years, costing $30 million.

In the trial, which used an AATD Sikorsky UH-60, the system used a CTI 2um laser to provide warning of small obstacles in the flightpath. It provided colour-coded warnings up to 750m (2,500ft) ahead and detected wire as small as 8.3mm (0.325in) thick at 550m against a cluttered background.

During the 10.6h flight trial the prototype MMIRR was also able to measure wind direction and speed outside the influence of the helicopter's downwash.

Source: Flight International