This March saw Lockheed Martin’s Pilotage Distributed Aperture Sensor (PDAS) system make its first flight over Fort Worth, Texas, on board Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor.
The PDAS system, which is designed for current and future vertical aircraft lift, consists of a multi-functional sensor system that generates high-resolution, 360-degree imagery around the aircraft to enhance situational awareness for pilots and other users. It has six infrared sensors located around the aircraft that are linked to aircrew helmets and cockpit displays via an open-architecture processor.
During the testing process, engineers demonstrated PDAS’s ability to provide simultaneous coverage to multiple independent displays. The device provides all-weather pilotage imagery to aircrews, whilst ground troops survey the environment for tactical information and threats. Eventually, PDAS is expected to provide imagery for up to six users – which could include pilots in other aircraft and mission commanders on the ground – though, for the time being, it generates imagery for two.
Rita Flaherty, Strategy & Business Development Vice-President at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, noted that the flight tests were a significant step forward in delivering advanced levels of situations awareness on today’s Army rotorcraft, she added: “With its embedded, multi-functional sensors, PDAS is the ideal foundation for an integrated survivability suite that will enable Army aircrews to own any environment and universally detect and defeat incoming threats.”
Long-term, Lockheed Martin plans capability upgrades that will demonstrate additional integrated survivability suite capabilities such as Multi-Modal Sensor Fusion (MMSF), which combines data from various types of sensors to restore aircrew situational awareness in degraded visual environments and enables navigation in GPS-denied zones.
For more information about the PDAS, visit Lockheed Martin.