Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) announced that it was selected by BAE Systems to provide a Synthetic Vision display for a rotorcraft brownout landing system. This is the second contract award from BAE Systems for Mercury to provide VistaNav(TM) Synthetic Vision technology for a brownout landing system. The first award, from BAE Systems Australia, was announced in March 2007.
Rotorcraft brownouts are intense, blinding dust clouds that result from helicopter rotor downwash, which is the forcing of air downward during the creation of lift from dry, dusty terrain. As a result, pilots cannot see nearby objects that provide the outside visual references necessary to control the aircraft near the ground during landing and take-off operations.
“We’re pleased to be working with Mercury to help solve the very serious challenge civilian and military helicopter pilots face when trying to safely land in zero-visibility conditions,” said John McKelvey, Business Development Director – Defense Avionics at BAE Systems. “This contract expands our breadth of engagement to provide a viable, dependable solution to a growing problem that affects all rotorcraft that take-off and land in arid conditions, from medflight crews to deployed military troops.”
Mercury’s Synthetic Vision display with the patent-pending Morphing Terrain Engine will be integrated with a radar sensor from BAE Systems. When terrain and obstacles are detected, Mercury’s Synthetic Vision will generate a computerized 3D terrain map drawn from databases and sensor readings, allowing pilots to “see” the surrounding terrain and obstacles whether or not they have visibility outside their window.
“Mercury is proud to continue its work with BAE Systems, and to be able to apply our expertise in Synthetic Vision technology to this critical application,” said Philippe Roy, Director and General Manager of the Avionics and Unmanned Systems Group at Mercury.
Flight tests for the rotorcraft brownout landing system are expected to begin in 2008. More information: Mercury’s Morphing Terrain Synthetic Vision