What happened to the stick and levers I used to use? This bird goes down on EMP, jamming, or that microwave beam gun someone mentioned... or a laser on the resonant quantum frequency of silver or copper. "When I was your age, we looked out the goddamn window, and we liked it!" --THE LIE new AF helo (e) (also from www.landings.com) "I can now see threats right in front of me," says Lt. Col. Scott Schafer, an MH-53J pilot, "from towers and power lines to a surface-to-air-missile." Schafer, chief of the aircraft acquisitions branch at the Air Force's Special Operations Branch (AFSOC), was praising the merits of the new electronic upgrades on the helo the Air Force calls "Pave Low III" (names supposedly picked by computer to confuse everyone). The Air Force received the first production-modified MH-53J Pave Low III helo from Lockheed Martin at a ceremony in Hurlburt Field in Crestview, Fla. April 17. The modification is called the (get ready) Interactive Defensive Avionics System/Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal, or IDAS/MATT, and it's supposed to provide aircrews with a new level of information from navigation to threats. A color, multifunctional, night-vision compatible digital map screen is the most visible hardware in the system. Located on the helicopter's instrument panel, the display gives an MH-53 crew a clearer picture of the battlefield. Crews have instant access to real time events, including the aircrew's flight route, man-made hazards such as power lines and even enemy threats that are "over-the-horizon." Beamed from a satellite to the helicopter's computer and then decoded, the data from the screen provides a 3-D perspective of surrounding terrain, including contour lines and colorized elevation bands. According to AFSOC officials, this gives crews near real-time intelligence data and reduces their workload. Besides the map display a navigational display provides digital course and bearing information with the push of a button. The heart of the system, advanced software, includes an integrated electronic warfare system. Infrared countermeasure controls, including missile warning, radar warning and jammer inputs as well as chaff and flare countermeasures, are on one display. Crews will receive instant cautions and advisories on threats with immediate recommendations, including when to dispense countermeasures. "With IDAS/MATT, if the computer senses a threat, it will anticipate the threat with a direct action the crew can take," said Maj. Jeff Zak, MH-53J pilot and chief of AFSOC's rotary wing program. "It will read, 'missile launch, break left now!'" The entire system was designed with the crew member as a priority in consolidating a variety of functions, say Pave Low crews. Special attention was made to display visible instrument panel functions with easy console access while increasing the efficient flow of information. AFSOC intends to eventually put the new technology on all of its aircraft. The system can be readily transferred to other SOF platforms and is included in the basic design of the CV-22 Osprey, AFSOC's next generation of aircraft, said Zak. The tilt-rotor CV-22 is expected to eventually replace the MH-53J, the MH-60G Pave Hawk as well as the MC-130 Combat Talon I. The helicopters of the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt will be the first to receive the new capability. Two prototype modified MH-53Js, are already in use by the 20th SOS.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 13:09:05 PDT