The US Army has awarded a contract to Raytheon to develop a new image processing technology for the Advanced Distributed Aperture System.

The $14.6m contract is intended to provide pilots with 360° situational awareness as well as improve aircraft and crew survivability while operating in low-visibility conditions.

Raytheon Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems vice-president Tim Carey said: "This next-generation technology will process images faster, allowing aircrews to achieve their mission objectives quickly and with the lowest possible risk."

The new image processor upgrade featuring thermal sensing cameras and a next-generation helmet-mounted display subsystem will enhance the system’s high-resolution imagery

The processor is expected to begin flight testing in late 2012.