Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) announced that it was awarded a contract by BAE Systems Australia to provide a Synthetic Vision display, for the development of a rotorcraft brownout landing system.
“BAE Systems Australia has chosen Mercury Computer Systems to provide a Synthetic Vision display for a flight-ready prototype brownout landing system for rotorcraft,” said Operations Director Jim Hanson. “Mercury and BAE Systems will be working closely to assemble and integrate the system.”
In 2002, the President of the American Helicopter Society identified brownout landings as the most critical safety issue facing rotorcraft. Brownouts can occur when a rotorcraft attempts to land on dusty terrain. When a helicopter descends through the last 50 feet — the most critical stage of any landing — the downwash created by the rotors pick up the dust on the ground. This can reduce the pilot’s visibility to zero. Dozens of helicopter accidents and deaths, both civilian and military, have been attributed to brownout landing accidents.
To address this problem, civil and government groups in the U.S. and abroad have begun to explore the issue by developing sensors that could detect terrain and obstacles. “See and Remember,” a phrase coined by the Air Force Research Lab, refers to a brownout landing system that scans the landing area before the rotors kick up the dust. The scan is then fed to a computer that “remembers” where the terrain is, and then draws it on a cockpit-mounted computer monitor in 3D as the craft descends. In this way, the pilot has a 3D image of the terrain, even when visibility through the window is nil. The technology that generates this computer-drawn terrain from databases and sensor readings is called Synthetic Vision.
Mercury has developed a patent-pending Morphing Terrain Engine that incorporates terrain sensor measurements that are captured and updated in real time via a standard interface, and displayed with Synthetic Vision. This state-of-the-art product allows pilots to visualize complicated sensor outputs in an immediately intuitive format.
“We are very pleased to be chosen by BAE Systems Australia for this important application,” said Philippe Roy, Director and General Manager of the Avionics and Unmanned Systems group at Mercury. “Rotorcraft pilots are tasked with dangerous and critical missions, from civilian medical evacuation to military transport missions. Mercury is proud to be on a team with BAE Systems Australia to develop a flight-ready system to address this problem.”
For more information on Mercury’s Morphing Terrain Engine, download the data sheet or contact Mercury at (866) 627-6951.
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. — Where Challenges Drive Innovation
Mercury Computer Systems is the leading provider of computing systems and software for data-intensive applications that include image processing, signal processing, and visualization. With a strong commitment to innovation, our expertise in algorithm optimization, systems development, and silicon design is blended with software application knowledge and industry-standard technologies to solve unique computing challenges. We work closely with our customers to architect solutions that have a meaningful impact on everyday life: detecting aneurysms; designing safer, more fuel-efficient aircraft; identifying security threats; discovering oil; developing new drugs; and visualizing virtually every aspect of scientific investigation.
Mercury’s comprehensive, purpose-built solutions capture, process, and present data for the world’s largest medical imaging companies, 8 of the 10 top defense prime contractors, and other leading Fortune 500 and mid-market companies in semiconductor, energy, telecommunications, and other industries. Our dedication to performance excellence and collaborative innovation continues a 24-year history in enabling customers to stay at the forefront of the markets they serve. Mercury is based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and serves customers worldwide through a broad network of direct sales offices, subsidiaries, and distributors.