12:00 AM, November 9, 2009
EADS Defence and Security (DS) will equip the Slovenian police force’s helicopter squadron with the globally unique HELLAS (Helicopter Laser Radar) obstacle warning system, which enables helicopter missions to be carried out even when visibility is extremely poor. As the company announced on Monday, Defence Electronics (DE), an integrated activity of DS, has been awarded a contract for a HELLAS system to be delivered before the end of this year, for integration into a Bell 412 helicopter. “HELLAS enables pilots to detect and avoid the smallest of obstacles, even when visibility is bad, thus offering crucial protection against one of the main causes of helicopter accidents,” explains Bernd Wenzler, CEO of Defence Electronics. HELLAS is the only helicopter obstacle warning system in the world which has proven its capabilities in operational use. Its laser technology even enables obstacles to be reliably detected that are difficult for pilots to see during flight. Moreover, the HELLAS system also ensures that extremely thin obstacles, such as high-voltage power lines, which are virtually invisible for pilots, are detected and displayed even under conditions of poor visibility or at night. The system scans the airspace ahead of the helicopter using a laser beam that poses no danger to the human eye. It detects even extremely thin wires with a high accuracy from distances of up to 1,000 metres. On the HELLAS display, the pilot sees a grey-scale, in-depth image of the landscape in front of the helicopter. Potential obstacles are displayed in a reddish colour so that the helicopter crew can identify them in good time to take appropriate evasive manoeuvres. A total of 50 HELLAS systems are already being deployed in operational service, for example in German Federal Police helicopter squadrons, in German rescue helicopters and by the Royal Thai Air Force. A military version is currently being integrated into German and Finnish NH90 transport helicopters.