Helping helicopters

EADS and DRS Technologies have agreed to collaborate on US marketing and production of the EADS HELLAS laser-based obstacle warning system that protects helicopters against difficult-to-detect obstacles.


EADS

and DRS Technologies have agreed to collaborate on US marketing and production of the EADS HELLAS laser-based obstacle warning system that offers protection for helicopters against difficult-to-detect obstacles, such as power lines.

This agreement covers the EADS Defence Electronics’ HELLAS-W (Warning) obstacle warning system, which is in operation on Federal German Police helicopters, and the new HELLAS-A (Awareness) obstacle warning system, which is in development for the German Forces NH90 helicopters.

The new HELLAS-A (Awareness) obstacle warning system has also been identified for potential use with US military forces. A HELLAS-A system has been ordered by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for further testing and evaluation. This unit is being adapted for the Special Operations Forces’ specific needs at the EADS Defence Electronics’ facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

“This agreement is an important first step in building a long-term relationship between EADS and DRS Technologies in the United States, and we are very pleased to team with this leading American defence company,” said Bernhard Gerwert, the head of EADS Defence Electronics.

The agreement establishes an industrial framework for a future HELLAS production facility in the US, as well as joint sales and marketing initiatives related to US applications for the system.

HELLAS is an early-warning laser radar-based device designed for helicopters that detects obstacles in the flight path, such as power lines and poles, which are difficult to detect visually during flight. The system probes its surroundings with an eye-safe laser beam and can recognise even thin wires at significant distances with high precision. HELLAS also is effective in detecting obstacles, such as trees and wind turbines.

The HELLAS system provides obstacle-warning information optically and acoustically, enabling pilots to make avoidance manoeuvres well before reaching the area of risk.

The HELLAS obstacle warning system is typically installed under a helicopter’s nose