Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to provide the Degraded Visual Environment System (DVES) for HH-60G aircraft.

The contract covers system design, development, integration and testing of the system on the HH-60G aircraft.

The DVES system is designed to allow pilots to safely take off or land in aircraft-induced brownout and whiteout conditions.

Integration of the system will help overcome operational limitations, increase safety and lower equipment costs.

SNC electronic and information systems business area executive vice-president Greg Cox said: “We are honoured to provide the most advanced and capable DVE solution available today to our country’s combat search and rescue aircrews.

“Our DVE solutions leverage over a decade of experience and investment to provide the most mature, safe and comprehensive solution available for mitigating the effects of DVE.”

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SNC stated that 58% of helicopter losses and 52% of fatalities occurred during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The causes of these include controlled flight into terrain, wire and object strikes, or hard landings in degraded visual environment (DVE) conditions.

“SNC’s DVE solutions provide increased flight safety and operational capability for all modes of flight.”

Using the DVES technology, USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter combat search and rescue aircrews will be equipped to address the operational limitations posed by ‘loss of visual situational awareness in aircraft-induced DVE’.

The DVES programme will provide situational awareness of uncharted terrain and obstacles for safe flight operations in DVE.

This will ensure increased mission capability and enhanced safety.

In a statement, SNC said: “SNC’s DVE solutions provide increased flight safety and operational capability for all modes of flight in natural and aircraft-induced DVE by restoring pilot situational awareness through real‐time, multi‐sensor fused imagery.”

The company’s systems use input from several passive and active sensors to provide real-time, multi-sensor fused imagery and command guidance symbology.