The Army is moving forward with its development of a Multi-Modal Sensor Fusion (MMSF), tasking Lockheed Martin [LMT] with a $12 million contract to develop a testbed of the technology for its rotary-wing aircraft.
Under the deal, announced Oct. 12 and awarded as part of the Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), Lockheed will develop a sensor fusion over the next 40 months needed to integrate capabilities for enhancing rotary-wing aircraft survivability.
The MMSF is also designed to improve the pilot’s ability to navigate in all environments, even in situations where GPS services are unavailable.
"Current Lockheed Martin fire control systems enable pilots to own the night," said Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control/SOF CLSS at Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control segment, in a statement. "Our next-generation MMSF technology will help them own the environment as well. Our work with NVESD and other DVE (degraded visual environment) stakeholders will enable helicopter aircrews to operate more safely and effectively in even the most challenging visual environments."
MMSF technology takes data from multiple sensors in order to stabilize pilot’s situational awareness in DVE situations. The sensor data is used to generate real-time 3-D terrain maps of the area surrounding the aircraft.
Over the next 40 months, Lockheed’s engineers will integrate government-furnished sensors into a reconfigurable, open-architecture testbed. The defense manufacturer will also refine multi-modal fusion techniques and design the pilot sensor displays.
MMSF capabilities may be utilized on existing Army helicopters, as well as future vertical lift solutions.