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IAI seeks US partner to complete helicopter safety system

Israel Aerospace Industries wants to team up with an avionics manufacturer to complete the development of equipment that will enable helicopter pilots to fly in degraded visual environments.

The company is developing the safety technology, which will enable helicopter crews to perform nap-of-the-earth missions in all weather conditions without the risk of hitting obstacles. A company source says a prototype system has been was tested in different flight conditions, and adds: “It works.”

IAI says its system uses a staring radar, advanced processing algorithms and cockpit multifunctional display integration. This combination allows for safe landing in “brownout” conditions, by alerting the pilot to electrical power lines and other ground obstacles. Weighing 30kg (66lb), the system can achieve a 95% detection rate against power lines, the company claims.

“With a partner we will be able to complete the development in less than 18 months,” says an IAI source, who confirms that talks are continuing with a US-based avionics company.