In an article published at C4ISRNET, Adam Stone talks about how the U.S. Army is combining sophisticated sensors in an attempt to fly blind. For the last decade or so the Army has been working on conquering “brownouts”, also known as Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE. From 2002 to 2015, brownouts and other forms of DVE have cost the military hundreds of lives and nearly $1 billion in aircraft damage.
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. […]
[…] Beyond this, program managers say they want to turn DVE into a tactical advantage. If Army pilots can fly blind, that gives them an edge in the field. “Our goal is to convert DVE conditions into a combat multiplier for commanders in the field in much the same way that the advent of night vision devices turned night conditions to our advantage in years past,” Minor said.
Years of research has shown that no one technology will make that happen. Rather, a combination of sensors must be brought to bear to support what Minor describes as a three-legged stool comprised of flight controls, sensing and cueing. […]
Read more here.