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Non-Mechanical LADAR for Improving The Helicopter Pilot's Situational …

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Arete Associates
P.O. Box 2607 Winnetka, CA 91396-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Non-Mechanical LADAR for Improving The Helicopter Pilot's Situational Awareness in Reduced Visual Cue Environments
Agency / Branch: DOD / NAVY
Contract: N68335-08-C-0444
Award Amount: $79,995.00


One of the major technical challenges of modern military and commercial rotary wing aviation is effective instrument aided navigation in brownout or whiteout conditions that can occur during landing or maneuvering in sandy, dusty, snowy or marine environments. Helicopter prop-wash churns up dense clouds of airborne particles that impede visibility. These conditions can escalate into crashing descents, lateral drift rollovers and collisions with ground features or obstacles. According to a recent Aviation Week & Space Technology article, "brownout has been blamed on the loss of more than 20 helicopters and 50 lives since 2001." This illustrates a compelling need to develop and field in situ situational awareness sensors that can see through dust clouds and generate 3D terrain and obstacle maps of the landing zone in near real-time to provide active visual feedback to pilots during landing in brownout or whiteout conditions. Arete Associates and Vescent Photonics have teamed to provide a state-of-the-art dust penetrating laser radar (DUSPEN) technology to see-through brownout/whiteout conditions. Arete will marry its fiber laser based imaging lidar technology and our extensive experience in developing 3D imaging lidar systems for applications in highly turbid medium with a newly developed non-mechanical beam steering technology pioneered by Vescent Photonics. This combination of technologies and experience should result in a significant advancement in see-through situational awareness sensor technology.

Principal Investigator:

James Murray
Corporate Senior Scientist

Business Contact:

David Kane
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

P.O. Box 2607 Winnetka, CA 91396

EIN/Tax ID: 952954108
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No