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Paris Air Show – Thales unveils industry-first augmented reality on TopOwl

Paris Air Show, France, June 21 2011 – Thales is presenting for the first time at this event – stand ST-N84 – its high-performance TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) featuring augmented reality, a new capability further enhancing helicopter pilots situational awareness in difficult visibility conditions.

Representing an industry-first, TopOwl is now able to provide helicopter crews with augmented reality information, projected right in front of the pilot’s eyes, such as synthetic views of the environment, made possible through the use of TopOwl’s unique fully overlapped 40-degree field of view. This synthetic view is generated in real time and
superimposed on the actual terrain vision, drawing on information from integrated databases, GPS data (for helicopter position and heading) and TopOwl’s accurate Pilot’s Line of Sight (LoS) measurement.

Projected directly on to the pilot’s helmet visor, the 3D Synthetic Vision System imaging (SVS) will give the crew a virtual representation of the world around the helicopter even in adverse weather, brownout or whiteout conditions, where pilots are no longer able to discern the ground from the air due to dust, sand storms or snow. Detected obstacles can also be displayed in augmented reality, should the helicopter be equipped with an Obstacle Warning System (OWS). This new function has already been evaluated in flight.

Yves Joannic, Thales Vice President, Helicopter Avionics activities commented, “Our role is to work constantly towards improving crew safety and mission success. We leverage Thales expertise in Head Up Displays for both passenger and fighter aircraft together with our experience in Helmet Mounted Sight Displays for helicopters to provide the market with crewfocused innovations. Today, Thales is displaying the new SVS function, which, we believe, will represent a significant step forward in enabling safe helicopter piloting in all weather conditions. ”
 

The combat proven TopOwl is the only HMSD system offering conformal piloting symbology, dark night vision performance and accurate targeting together with an unmatched level of comfort. TopOwl reduces pilot fatigue bringing substantial operational advantages. Onboard Tiger and Huey UH-1Y helicopters, TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight & Display System has been deployed with the French and US Forces in Afghanistan.

TopOwl is operational on five major helicopter programmes: Tiger, NH90, Cobra AH-1Z, Huey UH-1Y and Rooivalk. An additional programme, the T129, is in progress. TopOwl has been chosen by 16 countries for their Army, Navy and/or Air Force attack, utility and transport helicopters.
 

Note to editors: The Thales TopOwl® Helmet Mounted Sight and Display is based on a unique concept incorporating a night vision system with a 100% overlapped projection of a binocular image on the visor. Standard symbology is used to display flight and weapon management data, helping to reduce crew workload. TopOwl®’s head position sensor, used during target designation and weapon firing sequences, enhances operational effectiveness. Pilots particularly appreciate the low weight and perfect balance of the ergonomically designed helmet sight. TopOwl is in full-scale production and currently over 700 helmets have been delivered. More than 1,600 systems will be in service over the next 10 years.

About Thales
Thales is a global technology leader for the Defence & Security and the Aerospace & Transport markets. In 2010, the company generated revenues of €13.1 billion with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners. www.thalesgroup.com
 

Thales Avionics Thales, Corporate Communications
Natasha Harvey Alexandre Perra
Tel : 01 34 81 40 50 Tel : 01 57 77 86 26
natasha.Harvey@fr.thalesgroup.com

alexandre.perra@thalesgroup.com

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