Tiger helicopter

Selex ES has received a contract from the Australian Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) to supply its VigilX airborne enhanced situational awareness system for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The system will be evaluated by the DSTO as an integrated solution for efficient operation of ADF’s helicopters in degraded visual environments (DVE).

Set up by Rheinmetall Simulation Australia, the contract forms part of a grant awarded under the DSTO Capability and Technology Demonstrator programme, which seeks trial and potential purchase of the system for installation on the Australian Army and Navy’s helicopter fleets.

Australian Department of Defence Capability Development Group source major Ryan Maher said DVE capabilities production is being viewed by ADF as being critical to enhancing aircrew safety and survivability during hazardous missions.

"This technology will provide aircrew with a distinct tactical advantage on the battlefield," Maher added.

“This technology will provide aircrew with a distinct tactical advantage on the battlefield."

Weighing less than 20kg, the VigilX is a scalable, modular system designed to provide the pilot with a panoramic through-the-hull vision on the crew’s helmet-mounted displays (HMD), by real-time stitching of multiple infrared and visible electro-optical sensors present around an aircraft.

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Fully compatible with HMD, conventional head down displays (HDD), the system enables operations during day, night and all weather, as well as zero-light conditions, improving the helicopter’s flight precision for low level flight, troop or logistic insertion, extraction, air drop, and search-and-rescue missions.

The system can also be readily configured to address individual requirements of specific rotary and fixed wing platforms, and other unmanned aerial systems.

Awarded following successful trials on the US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk and UK Army’s Lynx helicopter, the contract paves the way for VigilX installation on the Australian Army’s Tiger, Chinook and MRH90 helicopters, as well as the MRH90s and MH-60Rs operated by the navy.

Image: A Tiger attack helicopter of the Australian Army. Photo: courtesy of Phil Vabre.

Defence Technology