Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TopOwl Flies Through Tests For New Extreme-Condition Applications

TopOwl flew through its latest series of tests for extreme-condition applications, confirming it as the leading Helmet Mounted Sight Display system of its kind, with performance continuously honed to the highest level possible.
As part of the successfully completed series of flight tests, TopOwl was connected to latest technology sensors to demonstrate that it meets increasingly rigorous demands for safe flight operations in degraded visual environments such as night, brownout, and whiteout.
TopOwl displayed high resolution FLIR, symbology, and Intensified Images onboard several new generation rotorcraft, including a limited evaluation on the Apache AH-64D. These test campaigns demonstrated that TopOwl - currently deployed in Afghanistan onboard international helicopter platforms - allows pilots to fly “head-up and eyes-out” by day or night and in extreme conditions, thereby strongly contributing to safety. TopOwl enables pilots to display both high resolution FLIR and high performance night vision images right in front of their eyes, and to switch easily and instantaneously between both.
The Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) recently completed a partial evaluation of the Thales Top Owl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display system on an AH-64D Apache. While the scope of the integration and subsequent testing was limited, the Experimental Test pilots were enthusiastic about the system performance, with comments such as: “unusually great FLIR image” and “IMAX effect”, together with “great depth of field in night vision mode”, and “it reduces pilot’s workload and fatigue”. Both the binocular visor projected image and the great comfort of the helmet, which was found to be light and well balanced, were well received by the pilots.
Most of the flight tests were conducted in USA, Canada and Australia:
  • Black Hawk & Huey with Lockheed Martin (USA)
  • Huey with United States Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) (USA)
  • National Research Council (NRC) (Canada) and Defence Science & Technology Organization (DSTO) (Australia)
  • Apache AH-64D (Longbow version) with pilots of AATD (Aviation Applied Technology Directorate) (USA)
TopOwl is a key component of an Enhanced Vision System (EVS). With the help of infrared detectors, the EVS as a whole provides flight crews with high-definition imagery of the environment outside an aircraft at any time of day or night.
Background Information
The Thales TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight and Display is based on a unique concept incorporating a night vision system with a 100% overlapped projection of a binocular image on the visor. Standard symbology is used to display flight and weapon management data, helping to reduce crew workload. TopOwl’s head position sensor, used during target designation and weapon firing sequences, enhances operational effectiveness. Pilots particularly appreciate the low weight and perfect balance of the ergonomically designed helmet sight.
TopOwl is already installed and ffully operational on 5 major helicopter programmes: Tiger, NH90, Cobra AH-1Z, Huey UH-1Y and Rooivalk. It is in full-scale production and currently over 700 helmets have been delivered. More than 1,500 systems will be in service over the next 10 years. It has been chosen by 15 countries for their army, navy and/or air force attack and transport helicopters.
Thales is displaying its TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight Display on stand #2133 at the AAAA show in Fort Worth TX – 14-17 April 2010.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2009, the company generated revenues of 12.9 billion euros with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Courtesy:Defence Talks

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