While it may have been impossible for the aircraft industry of previous years to pull such a thing off, the US Air Force has made a bold proclamation: they are making supersonic mid-air and land crashes history by 2020. Using emerging air force technology, supersonic fighter jets conducting combat maneuvers can avoid a crash thanks to an embedded computer system. How does the new air force technology work, though?
Creating Cooperative Data Links to Prevent Aircraft Crashes
Scientists from the Air Force Research Lab are creating the new technology, known as the Air Automatic Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). They are developing algorithms that will automatically change the flight path of two aircraft within 500-feet or less of each other. Through the help of global positioning systems (GPS) and Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), creating a cooperative data link is possible, will help prevent aircraft collisions.
Integrating Air-and-Ground Collision Technology
Testing of automatic collision avoidance technology has long been underway. In fact, there have been several successful tests on F-16s in Edwards Air Force Base in California. Furthermore, a major thrust of ACAS technology is that it synthesizes a system currently in use on F-16s: Ground Collisions Avoidance Technology (GCAT). GCAT also uses sensors to identify nearby objects such as mountains, buildings, and unsafe terrain. It has saved many lives in the past.
Helping Pilots Regain Situational Awareness
Piloting a military aircraft requires a significant amount of stamina and, in some cases, the high level of G-forces could cause a military pilot to pass out. The majority of aircraft loss, after all, has occurred as a result of pilots flying airplanes into the ground after losing situational awareness. With the help of the ACAS, land collisions will be averted since the system can pull the aircraft away from the ground.
The emerging ACAS technology not only makes aircraft a lot less susceptible to air and ground collisions: it also protects the lives of the men and women responsible for operating supersonic fighter jets. The effort is a huge step forward in supersonic aviation safety.