EADS Defence & Security (DS) has been ordered to equip three additional helicopters of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) with its obstacle warning system. This device, which is known as “HELLAS” (Helicopter Laser Radar), ensures the detection of obstacles that are virtually invisible for pilots, such as high-voltage power lines, thus enabling missions to be carried out even under difficult visibility conditions.
Before this, in 2005, Defence Electronics, an integrated activity of DS, already delivered three obstacle warning systems to the Royal Thai Air Force, which have been integrated into Bell 412 helicopters. The HELLAS systems currently ordered will, for the first time, be installed on-board Sikorsky S-92 helicopters.
“HELLAS enables pilots to detect and avoid the smallest of obstacles, even when visibility is bad, thus offering crucial protection against one of the main causes of helicopter accidents,” explains Bernd Wenzler, CEO of Defence Electronics.
The HELLAS obstacle warning system was specifically developed for use on-board helicopters. It has been successfully used for many years in German Federal Police helicopters and in 14 civil defence helicopters. HELLAS scans the airspace ahead of the helicopter using a laser beam that poses no danger to the human eye. It detects even extremely thin wires with a high accuracy from distances of up to 1,000 metres.
On the HELLAS display, the pilot sees a grey-scale, in-depth image of the landscape in front of the helicopter. Potential obstacles are displayed in a red signal colour so that the helicopter crew can identify and fly around them in time.
EADS Defence & Security (DS) is a systems solutions provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security, service and support solutions. In 2009, DS – with around 21,000 employees – achieved revenues of EUR 5.4 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 119,000.