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Quad-A 2015: US Army wants to hurry rotorcraft DVE tech


Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
Aug 14, 2009
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"Quad-A 2015: US Army wants to hurry rotorcraft DVE tech"
Marina Malenic, Nashville - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
30 March 2015


Key Points

The army wants DVE mitigation long before it fields a new family of helicopters in the 2030s
DVEs are a leading contributor to rotorcraft accidents and reduced operational effectiveness

The US Army wants to accelerate development of technology designed to enhance safety for helicopters operating in degraded visual environments (DVE), senior army leaders said on 30 March.

"If we're going to maintain overmatch and truly be game-changing, we have got to be able to fly and fight no matter what the weather, no matter what the visual conditions are," Major General Michael Lundy, commander of the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence, said during the annual Army Aviation Association of America summit.

"We can't wait until 2035," he added, referring to the goal for fielding a new family of Future Vertical Lift (FVL) rotorcraft. "That's disruptive technology that's maturing, so we're going to have to take some risk elsewhere to get it in the field."

DVEs include smoke, fog, rain, darkness, and brownout. The effects are a leading contributor to rotorcraft accidents and reduced operational effectiveness, according to the army.

"It's not just being able to fly, it's being able to employ weapons, acquire targets, and defeat threats," Lundy said.

He said the army was looking for sensors that could help pilots see, detect threats, and acquire targets. Currently, he said, the army was "hanging too much stuff" on its aircraft and was looking to acquire sensors that could provide all the solutions provided by multiple devices in order to cut down weight.

Gen Lundy added that the army's ground systems could also benefit from the new technology. "The same stuff we put on our aircraft we have to have on our tanks and our vehicles, because they've got to be able to fight in that same degraded visual environment," he said.

An analysis of alternatives is underway, according to army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu, who also spoke at the conference.

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