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  • DRS to Develop Navy Aircraft Tracking, Landing Systems
Jul 2003
PARSIPPANY, N.J., July 16 -- DRS Technologies Inc. announced it has received additional funding to provide engineering development models for the virtual imaging system for approach and landing (VISUAL) supporting US Navy aircraft carriers and other platforms. Employing advanced forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology, an automated aircraft tracking system and a new landing signal officer workstation, the system is expected to reduce the risk associated with aircraft landings on board carriers, especially at night.

The $2.8 million contract was awarded by the US Navy's Naval Air Systems Command Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, N.J. Contract options under this and other related VISUAL programs are valued up to $46 million, if exercised. For the award, the company will design, fabricate, test and deliver the VISUAL, and provide support for system integration, test, installation and check out. Work will be accomplished by the company's DRS Sensors & Targeting unit in Anaheim, Calif., and is expected to be completed by mid-2003. Additional contracts associated with the production of these systems for installation on all US Navy carriers, including CV/CVN aircraft carriers, are expected, as well as contracts for landing ship helicopter assault/attack and landing ship helicopter dock amphibious assault ship installations, DRS said.

"A unique system for significantly reducing landing risks on board carriers, the technology employed for VISUAL is critical for night operations, during maneuvers in severe weather and at times when radar and radio communications are restricted," said Fred L. Marion, president of DRS's Electro-Optical Systems Group.

VISUAL incorporates visible and infrared imagery and complex tracking algorithms to determine range, aircraft attitude, type and configuration, damage assessment and landing dynamics of fixed-wing aircraft during ship approach. Its eye-safe laser rangefinder is used to determine aircraft range. The landing of aircraft on carriers is one of the most stressful and difficult maneuvers for naval aviators to perform. VISUAL is expected to dramatically reduce the risk of injury to personnel and damage to platforms by generating precise infrared imagery that will be used to guide and align the aircraft for safer landings, DRS said.

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