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Electronic Bumper for Rotorcraft Brownout Approach and Landing

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Information Systems Laboratories, Inc.
10070 Barnes Canyon Road San Diego, CA 92121
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Electronic Bumper for Rotorcraft Brownout Approach and Landing
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8650-08-M-1384
Award Amount: $99,956.00


In a number of arid regions of the world, recirculation of dust by the rotorwash of helicopters results in the loss of visual cues during helicopter approach and landing. This condition is typically referred to as brownout. This is a serious problem for all services and leads to numerous aircraft and personnel losses in Afghanistan and Iraq. The effectiveness of the conventional approach of using spotters positioned in aircraft doorways to call out and maintain clearance from obstacles has obvious limitations, especially in the most degraded visual environments. An "Electronic Bumper" system would detect and track major obstacles including other aircraft in flight during brownout and virtually all low/no visibility approach and landing. An active RF system is preferred, one operating at high-enough frequency and bandwidth to provide the needed system resolution. SNC's electronically reconfigurable aperture (ERA) technology is ideally suited to this task. ERA is a patented electronically steerable array technology that has been demonstrated at across the range of frequencies of interest. This proposal describes a Multiple Scanning Array Radar (MSAR) that will achieve the required functionality. The hardware and processing architecture is described, along with the approach to demonstrating that the system will meet all requirements.

Principal Investigator:

Paul Techau
Vice President/Program Manager

Business Contact:

Nicole Y. Sanese
Sr. Contract Administrator
Small Business Information at Submission:

10070 Barnes Canyon Road San Diego, CA 92121

EIN/Tax ID: 541198316
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No