New Software In U.S. Fighter Jets Helps Prevent Ground Collisions

Posted: Aug 6 2007, 2:00pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 3:11am CDT, in News | Other Stuff

New Software in U.S. Fighter Jets Helps Prevent Ground Collisions
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The U.S. Air Force announced today that they are going to begin integration of Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, called Auto-GCAS, software into military fighter jets including F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighters.

“We in Air Combat Command are excited about the promise of Auto-GCAS,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, director of requirements for Air Combat Command, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. “This isn't just a safety issue for us, it's a warfighting issue. This technology will allow us to save both lives and combat resources. It is clearly the right thing to do.”

The software evaluates a variety of factors from aircraft weight, performance and takes into account aircraft positional information, GPS, and digital terrain data to evaluate the amount of time available before impact and the maneuver required to avoid impact with the ground.

The software does nothing until the aircraft is within 1.5 seconds of the point of no return for impact with the ground. Rather than simply giving off an alarm or warning indicator, this software will actually take control of the aircraft to avoid the impact.

“Manual or warning-only systems don't prevent many of our (controlled flight into terrain) mishaps. That's because situations like pilot spatial disorientation, target fixation, loss of situation awareness, or G-induced loss of consciousness may render a pilot unable to process the warning and/or perform the necessary maneuvers to prevent a collision with the ground,” said Col. “Tex” Wilkins, senior Air Force readiness analyst with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “Current programs rely on a pilot’s ability to manually respond to its warnings. Auto-GCAS, however, is specifically designed to prevent a collision in situations where a pilot cannot.”

Initially the software was put into use on aircraft for flight safety during testing, and then it was discover the software could benefit pilots in other ways, like keeping them from crashing in the event of a blackout. Via Sci Fi Tech

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