Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sept 2014

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 47

A Air MoBiliTy AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 21 Photo: Sgt Paz Quillé model apart. One is the L-3 WESCAM MX-15 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, well known as an ISR capability that he says has been undersold as an aid to pilots operating in low illumination or low visibility conditions. Experience in Afghanistan revealed that while night vision goggles work well to amplify existing ambient light, "half of every month the moon phase is very dark and you are not getting a lot of ambient cultural lighting for your NVGs to amplify. The goggles can get very grainy in low il- lumination conditions and the resolution was not great and we would risk mitigate in those conditions," he explained. "This system allows me to project an infrared picture that is independent of light ampli- fication into the cockpit. It allows me to fix it to a geographic point in space as I orbit to look at a landing zone in greater detail or it allows me to couple it to flight path vector in the aircraft. That is an enor- mous enabler in low light conditions such as the mountains where the sun sets much earlier. That will provide enormous gains in terms of the employability and safety of the aircraft in low illum and degraded vi- sual environments." Another is the Digital Automatic Flight Control System, which provides situation- al awareness and a level of automation to landing in degraded visual environments (DVE) such as snow or dust that greatly reduces risk. "On the D model we would have to conduct a very methodical method of reducing risk by flying through certain airspeed and altitude gates, and then have make a decision to descend into recircu- lating phenomena from a stable, loaded attitude. And you would usually lose all outside references for the last 10 to15 feet of the approach. That was a routine thing in Afghanistan. "In the F model, the automation allows us to shoot that approach to a point in space, say a 10-foot hover. You might lose all references, which is fine, but from that stabilized hover, using the native DAFCS modes, the aircraft can land on its own us- ing the DAFCS automation. The risk of rolling an aircraft due to lateral drift in the degraded environment because of that high energy DVE approach we had to use on the D-model analog Chinooks is much lower." A final distinguishing feature, which McKenna refers to as the crown jewel of the CH147F, is an extensive set of coun- termeasures that will be integrated into the Chinooks around 2016-17 as the air- craft approach full operational capability. The list includes an infrared suppression system for the engine to reduce the in- frared signature of the aircraft; an Engine Air Particle Separator (EAPS) to ensure particles are spun out before the air enters the combustion chamber; and Directed IR Countermeasures (DIRCM), an advanced counter missile system that detects the UV signature of a infrared missile launch and "slews to the incoming azimuth of the missile and dazzles the seeker head of that missile with laser energy. This is one of the the most advanced counter missile systems in the world." New tactical concept The arrival of the CH-147 fleet to 450 THS, better known as the Vikings, coin- cides with a new force employment con- cept for tactical aviation. 1 Wing in Kingston, which provides the capability to the army and Special Op- erations Forces and commands tactical helicopter squadrons in Borden (400), Edmonton (408), Valcartier (430), St. Hubert (438) and Petawawa (450), as well as the operational training squadron in Gagetown (403) and the Special Op- erations Aviation Squadron (SOAS) in Petawawa (427), has over the "past two years really transformed the way we do business," McKenna said. Much of that is due to lessons absorbed from Afghanistan. McKenna, who as- sumed command of 450 in June from LCol Duart Townsend, the first CO af- ter the squadron was reactivated in May

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Aug/Sept 2014