For the first time, Thales is presenting, at Paris Air Show, its high-performance TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) featuring augmented reality, a new capability further enhancing helicopter pilots situational awareness in difficult visibility conditions.
Representing an industry-first, TopOwl is now able to provide helicopter crews with augmented reality information, projected right in front of the pilot’s eyes, such as synthetic views of the environment, made possible through the use of TopOwl’s unique fully overlapped 40-degree field of view. This synthetic view is generated in real time and superimposed on the actual terrain vision, drawing on information from integrated databases, GPS data (for helicopter position and heading) and TopOwl’s accurate Pilot’s Line of Sight (LoS) measurement.
Projected directly on to the pilot’s helmet visor, the 3D Synthetic Vision System imaging (SVS) will give the crew a virtual representation of the world around the helicopter even in adverse weather, brownout or whiteout conditions, where pilots are no longer able to discern the ground from the air due to dust, sand storms or snow. Detected obstacles can also be displayed in augmented reality, should the helicopter be equipped with an Obstacle Warning System (OWS). This new function has already been evaluated in flight.
Yves Joannic, Thales Vice President, Helicopter Avionics activities commented, “Our role is to work constantly towards improving crew safety and mission success. We leverage Thales expertise in Head Up Displays for both passenger and fighter aircraft together with our experience in Helmet Mounted Sight Displays for helicopters to provide the market with crew focused innovations. Today, Thales is displaying the new SVS function, which, we believe, will represent a significant step forward in enabling safe helicopter piloting in all weather conditions.”
The combat proven TopOwl is the only HMSD system offering conformal piloting symbology, dark night vision performance and accurate targeting together with an unmatched level of comfort. TopOwl reduces pilot fatigue bringing substantial operational advantages.
Onboard Tiger and Huey UH-1Y helicopters, TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight & Display System has been deployed with the French and US Forces in Afghanistan
TopOwl is operational on 5 major helicopter programs: Tiger, NH90, Cobra AH-1Z, Huey UH-1Y and Rooivalk. An additional program, the T129, is in progress. TopOwl has been chosen by 16 countries for their Army, Navy and/or Air Force attack, utility and transport helicopters.