USAF close to fielding automatic terrain avoidance system for F-16 fleet
By Gareth Jennings
The US Air Force (USAF) expects to field an automatic terrain avoidance system on its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft by the second quarter of 2014, the service announced on 21 November.
The system, designated the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), is being developed by the USAF, Lockheed Martin and NASA to prevent controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) for the F-16 fleet. Since late 2011, the system has been flight tested aboard an F-16D testbed operated by the 416th Flight Test Squadron out of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Built on Automatic Collision Avoidance Technology research launched by the three organisations more than 25 years ago, Auto GCAS is designed to execute an automatic recovery manoeuvre when terrain impact is imminent.
According to the USAF, the system works by predicting CFIT conditions by means of a continuous comparison between a trajectory prediction and a terrain profile. The moment the predicted trajectory touches the terrain profile, the autopilot performs an abrupt roll-to-upright and a nominal 5 g pull until terrain clearance is assured.183 of 323 words
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