F-35 fighter jets are seen in the dusk.
The air force will soon operate F-35s with the rapidly evolving collision avoidance technology can help the jets avoid ground collisions by using computer automation to redirect an aircraft in the event that a pilot is injured or handicapped.
Later this year, the air force flying in the F-35 is equipped with an existing technology that is now in the F-16’s, called Air-Ground Collision Avoidance System, or AGCAS.
The system is planned to be operational on the F-35A as early as in the summer, 2019, service officials said.
Provisional AGCAS development work has been carried out as part of the ongoing F-35 development.
“AGCAS development and integration effort were completed previously on the F-16 post-block plane. The lessons learned from the F-16 AGCAS effort will be applied to the F-35,” Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Hope Cronin told the Warrior Maven.
AGCAS makes use of sensors to identify and avoid ground objects, such as buildings, mountains or dangerous terrain; AGCAS has already saved lives, senior Air Force officials tell the Warrior Maven.
There can, of course, a variety of reasons why a plane can collide with the ground, one of which could be that there is a pilot wind up pulling as many “G’s” that they lose consciousness, a senior Air Force weapons developer said.
The technology calculates where the aircraft is and where it would hit the ground on the basis of the way of flying at the time, service officials said. If the jet plane is flying in the direction of a possible collision with the ground, the on-board computer system of priority on the flight path and pull the plane from the ground.
Most of the algorithms, developed by Lockheed Martin, are constantly being refined, and test using simulation technology.
It is interesting that the results of a case study with test-pilot input on the AGCAS details of the ways pilots can learn to work with and “trust” the system on the computer of the automation. This question of how pilots would rely on the system arise as a major concern, according to the research, because the system takes away from the pilot.
“The concept of the pilot trust of Auto-GCAS is of crucial importance to the operational performance because pilots have the option to have the system on or off during operations,” wrote an essay about the case study called “Confidence-Based Analysis of an Air Force Collision Avoidance System”, in “Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications.”
The essay explains further that the results of their research showed that AGCAS was considered superior by test pilots to the previous “warning systems” that are “susceptible to false alarms” and can “demote trust.”
“Warning systems require the user to manually respond and so are not effective when the pilot is incapacitated or spatially disoriented, and the pilot may not always correctly recognize a warning or just make the terrain collision avoidance maneuver,” the essay writes.
Air-to-Air Collision Avoidance
In a simultaneous, but in the longer-term effort, the air force is now also working to develop algorithms to stop air-to-air collisions. This technology, developers explain, is much more difficult than thwart air-to-ground collisions, because the two fast planes, but one plane and the ground.
Assume a scenario where two or more supersonic jets are engaged in combat maneuvers in such close proximity, that they may come on less than 500 metres away from each other: when there is an automated computer system designed in the plane, and re-directs the fighters, saving lives and averting a catastrophic collision.
This is exactly the scenario, scientists from the Air Force Research Lab are in the hope to make possible by the early 2020, by means of an ongoing effort to implement the of Air Automatic Collision Avoidance System, or ACAS.
Algorithms are developed specifically for automatic display of computers, flight control of an F-16, as soon as it flies to within 500 metres or less than another plane, the Air Force Research Laboratory developers have told Warrior Maven. The computer systems are integrated with data links, sensors and other communication technologies for the effective, quick-to-crash of a plane.
There are a number of successful tests of the ACAS technology at Edwards Air Force Base, California, using F-16’s.
So far, the air force has carried out, 19 “two-ship” flights and a “three-ship flights with the help of the system to prevent collisions, the officials said.
The system is also designed to identify and divert aircraft that are “non-cooperative” shall have the meaning not of the US Air Force, AFRL developers said; sensors are designed to work quickly to detect a flight path or approach path with the hope of thwarting a possible collision.
While this work is underway for quite some time, an Air National Guard mid-air collision of two F-16’s in South Carolina last year underlined the importance in the fast growing and promising collision avoidance technology to integrate into the air crashes as well as air-to-ground incidents. Fortunately, in this case, both pilots ejected safely and without injury, multiple reports and service statements.
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