29 April 2010
The HELLAS system detects even the smallest of obstacles that are in the helicopter’s flight path. (photo : EADS)
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.