USAF autonomous air-to-air collision avoidance system

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spazsinbad

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 12:49

US Air Force wants autonomous air-to-air collision avoidance system on F-35
12 Jul 2018 Pat Host

"Key Points
The US Air Force wants to put an autonomous air-to-air collision-avoidance system on the F-35
The service has a similar technology on the F-16 that pulls unresponsive pilots out of tailspins [WUT?!]

The US Air Force (USAF) wants an autonomous air-to-air collision-avoidance system on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), according to a leading officer.

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Commander Major General William Cooley said on 10 July that the service wants this autonomous air-to-air collision-avoidance system on both 4th- and 5th-generation aircraft to achieve significant cost savings and save lives. The idea, he said, is that a more integrated collision-avoidance system would prevent air-to-air collisions while aircraft are flying in formation. Gen Cooley added that US allies buying the F-35 are also interested in this system.

The problem with an autonomous air-to-air collision-avoidance system is building pilot trust in the capability. Gen Cooley said onboard sensors such as radar must be used for a pilot to know what is around him or her and potentially avoid other aircraft. This air-to-air capability must also use communication links to get the position of other aircraft in the flight formation or area.

Gen Cooley said coding the software might be the easy part of integrating this air-to-air collision-avoidance system. Building confidence, he said, will be much more difficult. “Integrating all that and building up the trust and confidence that we actually have sufficient fidelity of the position of all those hazards, such that you can reliably avoid collision, that is a pretty heavy lift,” Gen Cooley told reporters after a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC...."

Source: http://www.janes.com/article/81704/us-a ... em-on-f-35
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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quicksilver

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 13:03

Betcha it’s Auto GCAS, not an ‘air-to-air collision avoidance system.’

Just more incisive reporting from the wonder-world of modern ‘journalism.’
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 16:52

Sounds too specific to be a misquote.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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quicksilver

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 17:34

I was not aware that F-16 had any such system (as suggested by the article); it does however have AGCAS.

If the article is accurate, it sounds like another engineering science project. Would like to see the data supporting a claim that there is a problem to fix wrt running into other aircraft. Does it happen? Yes. Frequency of occurrence versus cost to correct/address is the question. Of course there will be a chorus of "if it saves one life..." Right, got it, but the reality is that some risks are always going to be accepted because they cost too much time, effort and resources to resolve. That's part of the drill.
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usnvo

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 18:34

quicksilver wrote:I was not aware that F-16 had any such system (as suggested by the article); it does however have AGCAS.

If the article is accurate, it sounds like another engineering science project. Would like to see the data supporting a claim that there is a problem to fix wrt running into other aircraft. Does it happen? Yes. Frequency of occurrence versus cost to correct/address is the question. Of course there will be a chorus of "if it saves one life..." Right, got it, but the reality is that some risks are always going to be accepted because they cost too much time, effort and resources to resolve. That's part of the drill.


Since the AFRL is already working on a program called Automatic ACAS (Automatic Air Collision Avoidance System), that is likely what was being discussed. There is a good video from AFRL (just google Auto ACAS AFRL, sound track is somewhat over the top). From the video, as of mid 2016, since 2010 10 aircraft and five pilots have been lost in mid-air collisions in the USAF (obviously more when you add Navy and USMC aircraft). An interesting tidbit from the video is that 25% of F-16 Operational losses are the result of mid-air collisions. Probably well worth the cost, especially since it is mostly software.

The other consideration is that this is enabling technology for autonomous air vehicles and commercial aircraft as well, so it is not like there isn't a wide market for the technology.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 19:08

More Info
Auto ACAS F-16 Training Day
by Guy Norris in Ares Nov 25, 2014
Aviation Week was invited to evaluate Auto ACAS, an automatic air collision avoidance system for the F-16 and F-35 in development by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin. The assignment began with two days of briefings and preparatory simulator sessions in June at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility in Texas, followed in late July by interviews with Air Force and USAF Test Pilot School ACAS program personnel at Edwards AFB, California. The assignment concluded with two days of training and briefings at Edwards in September, culminating in a 1.7-hr. Auto ACAS demonstration and test flight in an F-16D operated by the 416th Flight-Test Sqdn.

Preparations for my Auto ACAS flight began the previous day with training and equipment fitting at Edwards AFB. First came the g-suit, which was fitted with Saville Row-like tailoring precision by Staff Sgt. Zackary Vallen and Mary Harris.

http://aviationweek.com/blog/auto-acas- ... aining-day

PDF from 2003
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a427453.pdf

Some YouTubes



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quicksilver

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Unread post13 Jul 2018, 19:32

Interesting. I wonder how the statistics break down into mission/training codes and/or phase of flight. Hornet guys had a spell of mid-airs a few years ago doing BFM, iirc. Wonder how 'George' algorithms work in those regimes.

I'll have to listen to/watch the video again; I didn't gather what sensors were feeding the system.

I have flown manual systems whereby the pilot is provided aural and visual warning of impending collision (very valuable at night), but nothing beyond that. I did note in the video, however, the reference to a podded P5 box carried on one of the jets. Is that the conduit the jets use for jet-to-jet proximity and relative movement?
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marauder2048

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Unread post14 Jul 2018, 06:46

I think Auto-ACAS is pretty much going to be required for loyal wingman/Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology
type schemes.

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