Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Army combines sensors in attempt to fly blind

Army combines sensors in attempt to fly blind: The Army is experimenting with combinations of sophisticated sensors in an effort to make it safer for pilots to fly in a degraded visual environment, or DVE.

The service has been pursuing DVE mitigation for about a decade. Successful ground sensor tests in 2015, followed by flight testing this fall, suggest the Army may be closing in on a solution.

Smoke and sand, snow and rain, fog and darkness: Any of these can obscure a pilot’s vision, making it difficult to fly and eroding the tactical edge. DVEs “have been the cause of a significant number of Army aviation accidents in the last decade,” Army officials told a House subcommittee on tactical air and land forces in March 2016.

DVE have been the cause of 24 percent of aircraft crashes and 44 percent of aviation fatalities since combat operations began in 2002, according to officials from Sierra Nevada Corporation. That company has been addressing the problem with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center's Aviation Development Directorate.