The U.S. Army and NATO are planning tests this coming fall and winter of systems to counter threats to rotorcraft from degraded visual environments, R&WI has learned.
Allied nation researchers are scheduled to test four DVE solutions in flight starting in October, when they are to be taken to Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The systems would then be flown in Germany and in Switzerland.
The U.S. Army is pursuing systems that allow helicopter air crews to fly safely in degraded environments not only during landing (the most discussed situation), but also throughout the entire flight regime. The service sees such solutions as a combat advantage since it would enable operations when opponents could not fly.
Much attention is focused on brownout as a DVE threat. U.S. Army officials said that the greater threat is posed by moisture in the air. Yuma has a brownout test facility with obstacles and the capability to generate heavy dust conditions. The tests in Germany will focus on how the systems will perform in flight in rain and fog, while the tests in Switzerland will assess the performance of those systems in snow conditions.