In support of Blackhawk helicopter operations, the Army has awarded Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Mass., a $14.6 million contract to further develop the company’s Advanced Distributed Aperture System (ADAS).
ADAS is a multispectral technology that gives helicopter pilots 360° situational awareness, improving aircraft and crew survivability when operating in low-visibility conditions.
In April, Raytheon successfully completed the integration of ADAS capabilities required by the Department of Defense’s Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations program. During flight testing, ADAS demonstrated mid-wavelength IR and near-IR image fusion, local area processing, hostile-fire indication, landing-assist symbols that appear on the helmet display for operation in low visibility, and IR-range searching and tracking.
The new processor will significantly enhance the system’s high-resolution imagery. The technology upgrade includes thermal cameras and a next-generation helmet-mounted display subsystem. Together these capabilities will enable full-spherical situational awareness in daytime or total darkness, supporting safer flight operations in environments of degraded visibility.
Raytheon has performed more than 200 hours of extensive ADAS testing to demonstrate the system’s capabilities on a UH-60 Blackhawk. Flight demonstrations were conducted at US Army facilities in Virginia and Alabama, and flight testing for the new image processor upgrade is expected to begin in late 2012.
“The deployment of Raytheon’s ADAS technology will directly affect the lives of those in combat,” said Tim Carey, vice president for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “This next-generation technology will process images faster, allowing air crews to achieve their mission objectives quickly and with the lowest possible risk.”