Sunday, March 02, 2008

News for all you Helo Geeks

I could have used this a few times...

FORT RUCKER, Ala. - Unmanned aircraft systems are giving Apache helicopter pilots a new war-fighting advantage.

Apache pilots can now receive video from unmanned systems for advance targeting information without entering harm's way. Demonstrated for the first time January 31 at the Army Aviation Senior Leaders Conference, this effort is part of a rapid acquisition program to increase interoperability.

Live footage from a Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System was streamed to the cockpit of an Apache helicopter through Video from UAS for Interoperability Teaming Level II or VUIT-2.

"This is a big step for manned-unmanned teaming," said Col. Derek Paquette, Apache project manager. "Ultimately, VUIT-2 will increase the survivability and lethality of the Apache Longbow aircraft by providing aircrews and ground commanders increased situational awareness, decreased sensor to shooter timelines and increased reaction time."
VUIT-2 is able to receive video from nearly all unmanned aircraft systems operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also provides joint interoperability by giving Apache Longbows the ability to receive Air Force and Navy video from platforms such as the F-15, F-16, F-18 using Sniper or Lightning Pods.

Currently, manned-unmanned teaming in Apaches relies on radio transmissions from the UAS operator to describe a target of interest. Now with the advent of VUIT-2, the Apache pilot can quickly visualize, assess the situation, and prepare for target engagements before he is even in weapons or Modernized-Target Acquisition Designator System range. UAS video is displayed in the cockpit on the Apache Longbow's Multi-Purpose Display, and Apache Longbow sensor video can be transmitted to Soldiers on the ground.

VUIT-2 capabilities will be fielded to theater by this summer and is approved for nine Longbow Apache battalions during fiscal years 2008 and '09.

I don't think I have to explain why this is a good thing. On the other hand maybe I do, people ARE kind of stupid.

It is sad that I find out about it by reading it on the internet...and I am an Apache pilot.

Speaking of stupid, Hope for change...change for hope.

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