Degraded visual environment mitigation program NATO flight trials: U.S. army flight test and results

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Fujizawa, B.T.
Szoboszlay, Z.P.
Flanigen, P.R.
Minor, J.S.
Morford, Z.G.
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A flight test was conducted by the U.S. Army as a part of the RDECOM Degraded Visual Environment NATO European Flight Trials in February of 2017. Three weeks of testing was conducted at WTD61, Manching, Germany in smoke, fog, and rain. One week of testing was conducted at A¨ lggialp, Switzerland in whiteout. Sensor data was collected in each environment using the Sierra Nevada Corporation sensor system consisting of a radar, a ladar, and a long wave infrared camera. The sensor data was fused together with a priori terrain data to generate a 3D world model which was displayed to the pilot. Twelve test pilots from Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom conducted qualitative evaluations of the Partial Authority Flight Control Augmentation system, Integrated Cueing Environment, ICE-LG landing guidance algorithms, and the Sierra Nevada sensor system installed on AFDD’s EH-60L research Black Hawk helicopter. The radar was able to penetrate all obscurants except the rain which reduced its range. The ladar was unable to penetrate fog or whiteout and had reduced range in rain. The infrared camera had reduced range in the fog and rain, and was unable to penetrate the whiteout. The ICE-LG landing guidance and visual cueing together provided an intuitive and easy system for the evaluation pilots to make precise landing and hovers in reduced visibility with only minimal training. Additionally, the coupled collective control system reduced the pilot workload and resulted in improved hover and landing performance.