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23 Sep 14. Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET), both part of State Corporation Rostec, have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter kitted out with the KBO-17 on-board avionics suite. Hovering tests will take places at the National Helicopter Building Centre in the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant flight-test complex. KBO-17 avionics have been fitted to the first test model of the Mi-171A2, which was presented at the International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) in Zhukovsky in 2013. The KBO-17 avionics suite was developed at the Ulyanovsk Instrument Manufacturing Design Bureau (part of KRET). Thanks to the KBO-17 suite, the Mi-171A2 can operate safely at any time of day or night, even in adverse weather conditions. For additional flight safety, the Mi-171A2 is fitted out with GPS/GLONASS satellite system displays, mapping, flight-plan navigation systems (VOR/ILS), meteorological information and automated obstacle warning systems (alerting crew to power lines, masts, isolated trees etc.). The KBO-17 suite can be enhanced with the KOC-17 day/night vision system. The KBO-17 boasts a ‘glass cockpit’ piloting and navigation system equipped with five LCD displays. The displays show the most important information at each stage of the flight, allowing the flight crew to fully evaluate the helicopter’s operation and navigation. The helicopter is also fitted with an on-board equipment maintenance system, which means it can operate without in-flight engineers, reducing the number of crew required to two – without any reduction in safety. Two helicopters are currently undergoing tests on the Mi-171A2 programme: the ‘flying laboratory’ built on the basis of the serial-produced Mi-8/17 helicopter, and the first prototype model of the Mi-171A2. Work on the second prototype is underway at the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, and once complete it will join the other two models for tests. In addition, two frames of the Mi-171A2 will undergo static and fatigue testing. Russian Helicopters expects work for Mi-171A2 certification to be completed in 2015.
19 Sep 14. US Army boosts terrain awareness with new geospatial analysis tool. The US Army has developed a new geospatial analysis tool to help combatant commanders better plan their routes in unfamiliar locations. Developed by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Geospatial Research Laboratory, the situational awareness geospatially enabled (SAGE) tool is designed to help increase the commanders’ understanding and knowledge of the impact of terrain and weather, leading to informed decisions. Using four types of data, including elevation, terrain categorisation, roads/streets and map imagery, the tool aids intelligence analysts in rapid identification of the landscape and environments such as estimates of how quickly the enemy can march through a designated area due to the terrain. 7th Infantry Division, 2/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion warrant officer 1 Robert Carle said: “SAGE truly cuts down the time required to create bulk products, allowing for more time to be spent conducting actual analysis.” SAGE enables geospatial engineers, GEOINT professionals and analysts at various echelons, to create tactical decision aids in support of the military decision making process, intelligence preparation of the battlefield and soldier-leading procedures. Currently used within the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) worldwide, the tool successfully completed user-evaluation and validation surveys at the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), 82nd Airborne Division, US Marine Corps in Thailand, and the US military academy. Also undertaken at US Army Japan, Fort Dix, New Jersey readiness and training facility, as well as the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, US, th