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F-16s to get SLEP/Auto GCAS

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posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 01:01 PM
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The Air Force has taken another step towards the latest SLEP for the Block 40, 42, 50, 52 F-16s, by installing the first Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System. A total of 631 F-16s will receive the system, while 300 will undergo a Service Life Extension Plan, which will add as much as 4,000 hours of flight time to those aircraft.

Hill AFB in Utah is the first to receive the GCAS system. They are using a "train the trainer" approach, and sending a team around to show how to load the cartridge, how the system works, etc. After Hill, the team goes to Shaw AFB in South Carolina. The Air Force estimates that the system, which acts by comparing terrain to the flight path, will potentially save as many as 10 lives, 14 aircraft, and $530M after implementation. They're also looking at how to install the system into older non-digital aircraft in the fleet. Currently the system can only be employed on Block 40 and higher aircraft that have the digital flight control systems. Lockheed has a hybrid system that may be used on older blocks.


With the first of its 631 later-model Lockheed Martin F-16s now being fitted with an automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS), the U.S. Air Force is studying an upgrade path to add the safety device to more than 300 earlier build, non-digital fighters operated by the Air National Guard.

Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Lockheed and NASA, the Auto-GCAS is designed to reduce controlled-flight-into-terrain-type accidents by 90%. The system, which completed research and development under Air Combat Command’s (ACC) Fighter Risk Reduction Program in 2010, began to transition to the Block 40/50 F-16 fleet in September as part of the latest M6.2+ Operational Flight Program (OFP) software update.

The safety initiative comes as the Air Force takes another step toward implementing a service life-extension program (SLEP) for nearly 300 Block 40, 42, 50 and 52 aircraft which could add up to 4,000 additional flight hours—nearly a decade of longer life. The move will help mitigate the oft-delayed build-up of the Air Force’s F-35A fleet, and comes on top of more recent efforts by Lockheed Martin to address a long-term fix for a longeron cracking issue that led to the temporary grounding of 81 F-16Ds last summer.




posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


This may be a dumb question, but I assume that the GCAS won't really work when the aircraft is engaged in ACM or just general aerobatics. Or does/can it react to more than just the flight-plan/ terrain (level flight)?

All I can think of in comparison to this in civilian life, for me, is a CAS on a car with regards to on-board radar and auto braking systems like some higher-end cars have. Or TCAS for airliners, but that's got nothing to do with the ground.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 02:20 PM
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a reply to: Sparkymedic

If it detects a conflict with the ground, it will alert the pilot, and if he doesn't immediately respond, then it will roll wings level, and perform a 5G pull up maneuver until it senses it's clear of the terrain threat. From what I've read it performs in all aspects of flight, regardless of what is happening.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 02:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Wow...that is quite amazing. So how long before pilots are just removed fully from all aircraft? Seems they are the crux between failure and success.

EDIT: I suppose this is really just to avoid the unfortunate circumstances G-lock can put a pilot into.
edit on thppmFri, 24 Oct 2014 14:27:56 -0500k1410America/Chicago2427 by Sparkymedic because: NEAT!


2nd EDIT: BTW, I really appreciate your posts in aviation. I originally came to ATS for the govt/ society consp. stuff. But as a huge aviation buff, happily found the aviation forum.

edit on thppmFri, 24 Oct 2014 14:30:17 -0500k1410America/Chicago2430 by Sparkymedic because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 02:29 PM
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a reply to: Sparkymedic

GLOC and target fixation are the two leading causes of CFIT. It'll be a long time before we see the pilot removed from the cockpit completely, just because of lag issues, and a few other things.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 03:16 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

How would this affect NOE flights and maneuvers, Will the pilot have the option to toggle On/Off?

Earlier build non-digital fighter sounds like the A-10 will get this system integrated as well.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: StratosFear

It's programmable, so it should be a simple matter to program it for NOE flights, and to have it wait until a certain point is passed before alerting. Similar to the TFR in the B-52 and F-111s.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 04:25 PM
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300 will undergo a Service Life Extension Plan,


Don't they know the extended warranty plan is a scam? lol

Actually sounds pretty cool but (not being a pilot type) I would have assumed most aircraft had this type of system. Although as I wrote that my brain slapped me and said they probably had a warning tone. This seems to take over control yes?

and just out of curiosity what is NOE flight?
No Onboard Emergency?



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 04:30 PM
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a reply to: tinner07

NOE - Nap Of the Earth. You use terrain to mask your radar signature from enemy radar systems. You get insanely low, and usually want to have a good terrain following radar on board to get down in the weeds like that.

There's a warning tone that you're approaching terrain, and are in a Bad Place as far as not flying into it, but that's all it is, is a warning. There was nothing prior to this that actually took over and kept you from flying into the terrain. There was terrain following radar, but that was designed for low level flight, this will work in all aspects of flight.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

ok Thanks Zaphod. so using NOE to hide from radar,have probably read about it.

Would that be basically the same as, if it is/was possible, flying below radar? I can see that happening over flat terrain but the NOE in a not so flat terrain.

Hopefully they can switch it off or an unintended 5g climb (i'm guessing thats kinda up fast) could get you painted real quick.

Most of my avionics knowledge comes from Airwolf...lol and Howling Mad Murdock



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 04:53 PM
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a reply to: tinner07

As long as you don't get too close to the terrain, then the system won't fly up. There's a certain point where you HAVE to pull up, or you're GOING to hit the mountain you're hiding behind.

NOE is the same as flying below the radar, but it uses natural terrain, where the radar can't see behind to do it.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 05:16 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Do you know if it uses the same technical principle as TCAS to operate? It sounded a little from your description like it was using an on board mapping database, kind of like the older scene matching or TERCOM types rather than a conventional TCAS emitter/receiver system, or did I misunderstand you?

I ask as if it uses something like TCAS then it is possible to track the aircraft in a potential combat situation via emissions unless it also has an LPI function inbuilt or a very low power emitter or both.

LEE.



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 05:20 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

The terrain maps for that particular flight are loaded before take off. They're stored on cartridges, and plugged into the system before engine start.
edit on 10/24/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 25 2014 @ 12:05 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

NOE altitude 80 - 200 ft AHO. Everything lower than that is considered contour flight.

I would not recommend a fighter jet fly contour...But with a system like this it may be impossible to do so.



posted on Oct, 25 2014 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: projectvxn

Even with TFR you generally can't get much below 200 feet. I shudder at the thought of trying to haul even an F-16 around doing contour.



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