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Air Force to add auto-GCAS to F-16s

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posted on Sep, 12 2013 @ 11:11 PM
The Air Force and Lockheed Martin are developing an automatic ground collision avoidance system to be fielded on the F-16 fleet starting next year. It would also include a pilot activation feature that could be used if the pilot becomes disoriented.

The system has three components including changes to the flight control computer, which completed testing a few weeks ago, advanced data transfer equipment, and modified software for the computer.

The system could theoretically recover the aircraft as low as 50 feet, pilots testing the system recommended setting a higher base altitude to the it. The Air Force will retrofit the system onto all digital flight control F-16s as they go through the depot, starting at 25 a month, and eventually moving to 50. If it goes as scheduled, the entire fleet of Block 40/42 and 50/52 aircraft will be refitted by the end of next year. Aircraft with analog systems won't be refit, although there is a system designed if the ANG wants to install it on older aircraft.

Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force are working on implementing an automatic ground collision avoidance system (auto-GCAS) for the service's F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet that is set to become operational in 2014.

The system will also include a pilot activated recovery system that would be able to return the jet to straight and level flight at the push of a button, should the operator become disoriented.

"We expect to have the production deliveries out in the field as part of the M6.2+ OFP [Operational Flight Programme] for the USAF," says Bill Hord, a Lockheed F-16 programme director. "It fields in early 2014.

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 02:24 AM


The system could theoretically recover the aircraft as low as 50 feet, pilots testing the system recommended setting a higher base altitude to the it.

Yeah, I bet LMFAO!!!

Was a similar system already fitted to an aircraft? This sounds familiar but on something else but I cannot recall what it was. A must have for any long range penetration strike missions, the F-16 must be taking on some of the capabilities from the more expensive F-15E`s.

edit on 13-9-2013 by StratosFear because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 07:58 AM
That seems so incredibly risky... I wouldn't want to be the one testing this!! The problem with things like this is that if you have something that'll recover you automatically then you get lazy (not lazy but I can't think of the word) with your own recovery skills and then if the system fails, you panic cos you haven't been practising your recovery cos there's always been a system to do it for you.

Not saying that's what's going to happen, but I think that's something they'd have to be careful about

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 02:38 PM
Ultimately cost savings are what pushed this into being. They actually started developing the technology with the AFTI program in the 1980s. But when they did a study in 2004, they figured out how bad CFIT would really hurt. It was estimated that CFIT would cost 7 F-22s over the life of the fleet (two might have already been saved if the Pentagon hadn't cut the system out of the aircraft to save money). More for the F-16 and F-35. It showed that the F-35 fleet would lose $1.14B if 10 aircraft were lost to CFIT (at a cost of $114M/unit). The F-22, with the four that were lost so far, has already lost $600M using the most generous airframe costs. That doesn't even touch on the lives that it will save, and could have saved, such as the two F-22 pilots lost.

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by Florasaurus

While I can see your point, if the Air Force hadn't cut this out of the F-22, it would have already paid for itself in the two lives it would have saved. One suffered from GLOC before the aircraft hit the ground, and the other was contorted trying to turn on his back up O2 system when the aircraft impacted the ground.

Yes, you take a risk on losing some skills, with a system like this, but the ultimate savings in lives, and aircraft make it far more worth having than not.

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