Giving Mobility Aircraft All-seeing Eyes:

Air Force Research Laboratory officials believe they can enable air mobility aircraft to land in any weather (fog, rain, snow, or blowing sand) condition without ground-based navigation aids. AFRL is working on two “high-priority” programs: with BAE on the Autonomous Approach and Landing Capability and Boeing on the Opportune Landing System. The AALC will provide clear images of the approach via sensor-based, head-up display that uses imaging radar and near real-time video. The OLS contribution will be to analyze satellite imagery to assess an austere area’s suitability—dimension, flatness, and obstructions—for a landing. Officials plan to flight test the AALC with its present two-dimensional radar between October 2006 and February 2007 and a 3-D-view capability in 2007. They expect to transition the technology, which Douglas Zimmer, an AFRL deputy program manager, calls “a true game changer,” to AMC by 2010.