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An experimental Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft has flown for the first time with an integrated system that grants pilots and aircrew a 360 degree view through the skin of the aircraft.
Lockheed Martin has recently displayed footage taken from the V-280’s first flight with the integrated Pilotage Distributed Aperture System (PDAS).
PDAS is the first system of its type to be in use on vertical lift aircraft. The system is revolutionary when it comes to pilot’s situational awareness, especially when flying at lower altitudes.
Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Bell to work on the technology. Entirely funded by Lockheed Martin, the technology has gone from concept all the way to flight demonstration in just five years.
The technology consists of six sensors attached onto the V-280. Two sensors in the back, two in the front, one on the bottom of the aircraft, and one on top. The sensors are tied together in such a way to create a full 360 hemispherical image, therefore eliminating any blind spots created by the aircraft’s structure.
The 360 view taken from the sensors can be viewed on tablets, goggles, or a helmet mounted display. The idea is that a soldier in the back of the aircraft can use a tablet to look in different areas than the pilots, something that is very useful for search related missions.
PDAS would also use imagery gathered by the sensors to create real-time intelligence regarding flight paths. For example, soldiers being airlifted to their mission can better understand the terrain and area from the back of the aircraft.
Defensenews.com reports that PDAS isn’t intended to be used only on the V-280. The Army is looking to demonstrate PDAS in a modified Black Hawk helicopter by early summer time next year.
Over the next few months, additional algorithms will be tested with the PDAS. The V-280 will be equipped with ground moving target indicators, as well as algorithms detecting air to air targets, granting further situational awareness and security to the aircraft.