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EADS, DRS To Work On Laser-Based Obstacle Warning System For Helicopters

File photo of a Bell 412 EP helicopter of the Royal Thai Air Force, equipped with the HELLAS obstacle warning system (visible under the nose). Photo courtesy: EADS.

Friedrichshafen, Germany (SPX) Oct 06, 2005
EADS and DRS Technologies have agreed to collaborate on U.S. marketing and production of the EADS HELLAS laser-based obstacle warning system that offers unprecedented protection for helicopters against difficult-to-detect obstacles, such as power lines.

This agreement covers the EADS Defense Electronics' HELLAS-W (Warning) obstacle warning system, which already is in operation on Federal German Police helicopters, and the new HELLAS-A (Awareness) obstacle warning system, which is in development for the German Forces NH90 helicopters and has been identified for potential use with U.S. military forces, following a U.S. Foreign Comparative Test (FCT) evaluation of a HELLAS-W system in 2002-2003.

A HELLAS-A system has been ordered by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for further testing and evaluation. This unit currently is being adapted for the Special Operations Forces' specific needs at the EADS Defense Electronics' facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

"This agreement is an important first step in building a long-term relationship between EADS and DRS Technologies in the United States, and we are very pleased to team with this leading American defense company," said Bernhard Gerwert, the head of EADS Defense Electronics. "Together, we are well positioned to offer the U.S. military a proven system that already is in operation internationally."

The agreement establishes an industrial framework for a future HELLAS production facility in the U.S., as well as joint sales and marketing initiatives related to U.S. applications for the system.

HELLAS is an early-warning laser radar-based device designed for helicopters that reliably detects obstacles in the flight path, such as power lines and poles, which are difficult to detect visually during flight.

The system probes its surroundings with an eye-safe laser beam and can recognize even thin wires at significant distances with high precision. HELLAS also is effective in detecting obstacles, such as trees and wind turbines.

The HELLAS system provides obstacle warning information optically and acoustically, enabling pilots to make avoidance maneuvers well before reaching the area of risk.

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Boeing And Lockheed Martin Cooperate In SDB II Competition
St Louis MO (SPX) Oct 06, 2005
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