An enhanced vision system has been flight tested on a C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft for the first time,
The flight test of the Collins Aerospace EVS-3600 (enhanced vision system) brings the systems, which give pilots superior situational awareness in poor visibility conditions such as bad weather, significantly closer to deployment for military and firefighting aircraft. EVS have been used for many years on commercial and business aircraft.
Collins’ EVS-3600 uses multiple wavelength cameras to “see-through” poor visibility conditions better than the human eye. The images are shown on head-up displays, allowing pilots to better identify the runway environment in all weather conditions including fog, haze, snow, smoke, dust, blowing sand and low illumination nighttime operations
The technology will be particularly beneficial for C-130 aircraft given their use in remote areas and during natural disasters such as wildfires as part of humanitarian relief efforts.
“The feedback we received from the crew following the test flight confirms what we’ve known for quite some time — this technology can help save lives by improving threat detection while increasing safety margins and mission success rates for our militaries,” said Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager for Military Avionics and Helicopters at Collins Aerospace.
“We’re particularly interested in seeing how this technology can assist firefighting crews. Not only will it help them to navigate through heavy smoke and pinpoint hotspots while using C-130s to help stop wildfires, but they can also land and refuel closer to the fires to increase the efficiency of their efforts.”
In military operations, the EVS will also allow for safer low-profile terrain flying in low-visibility conditions, easier visual confirmation of Drop Zone markings and fewer mission cancelations due to adverse weather conditions use of heat signatures to make search and rescue operations easier and more efficient
In addition, Collins’ EVS doesn’t need a dedicated cooling system and remains the most compact system certified for Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) Approach and EFVS Landing lower operating minima.
Collins is working with the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command on a longer, more comprehensive test of the EVS and is on track to complete the prototype aircraft installation and airworthiness approval in 2023. The upgrade package is expected to be immediately available to the C-130J community thereafter.