Multi-Function Laser Radar (LADAR) for Rotorcraft Brownout and Cable Warning/Obstacle Avoidance

Period of Performance: 04/20/2011 - 07/22/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

H. N. Burns Engineering Corp.
3275 Progress Drive Suite A
Orlando, FL 32826
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: This proposed SBIR Phase II effort is to design, fabricate and field-test a prototype Multifunction Laser Radar System which will be integrated on a US Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate (AFDD) EH-60L Blackhawk helicopter and flight tested in complete zero-visibility brownout conditions at Yuma Proving Ground (YPG). The primary objective of the proposed Phase II effort is to provide continuous, high quality imagery in the cockpit of the Landing Zone (LZ) during brownout approach and landing. Wires and cables will be highlighted in the ladar display to enable the crew to make rapid tactical maneuvering decisions. Our goal is to build a compact system weighing less than 50 lbs which can detect and warn of poles, power lines, cables and guy wires at 3000 feet slant range and which also can provide initial assessment of the LZ at 1000 feet slant range and final assessment of the LZ at not less than 100 feet slant range in full degraded visual environments (DVE), such as dust. BENEFIT: This SBIR Phase II proposal addresses an urgent need to improve the safety of operations for rotorcraft operating in a degraded visual environment (DVE). The proposed system will detect and warn of wire strike hazards at long range during low-level flight while simultaneously providing the capability to detect surface hazards and obstacles in the landing zone in the presence of volumetric scatterers such as dust. The potential users include all branches of the military and related Government agencies, as well as commercial rotorcraft operators.