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US Army Seeks Tactical Advantage in DVE

By     | November 5, 2015
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The U.S. Army’s current search for a “degraded visual environment” solution is aimed not only at enabling aircrews to take off and land safely in blowing dust, sand, snow, fog and other obscuration. The service seeks to enable pilots “to exploit dwelling in those conditions indefinitely” to gain “a tactical advantage over an adversary” that lacks that ability, the Army’s David Cripps told attendees of Rotor & Wing International’s Rotorcraft Certification Summit. Cripps is deputy director of the Aviation Engineering Directorate at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, which is supporting a new DVE technical demonstration by the Aviation Development Directorate. That initiative aims to fuse inputs from near and far infrared sensors, radar and lidar, depict that data through a display that also shows flight path vectors and tie the inputs in with an aircraft’s flight control system to enable it to command a safe flight path without excessive pilot workload. Conventional flight testing and certification methods aren’t quite applicable to such a system, Cripps told the Oct. 27 summit in Irving, Texas, “so we’re developing new techniques.” The special operations community isn’t waiting. The U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to continue development of its Degraded Visual Environment Pilotage System (DVEPS) following June testing at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. Boeing and Rockwell Collins also had vied for the work. Developmental flight testing is set to start before next October.

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