|Object Name:||LOCUS Laser Radar|
|Part No:||Not Marked|
|Serial No:||Not Marked|
|Year of Manufacture:||Unknown|
|Location:||Main Object Store|
In 1988 GEC Avionics supplied a Laser Optical Cable Unmasking System (LOCUS) for the US A-6 Real Night night attack trials. Real Night was a follow-on from the earlier Cheap Night programme, which resulted in GEC Avionics being chosen to supply the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) night vision goggles (NVGs) for US Marines Corps night-attack AV-8Bs. The Real Night A-6 had Head Up Displays, Colour Head Down Displays, Digital Map , Spartan Terrain Reference Navigation and Terrain following, Cat’s Eyes Night Vision Goggles, FLIR Pod and LOCUS Pod all supplied by GEC Avionics.
The LOCUS Pod is an experimental wing mounted pod (similar in size to the FLIR Pod) for the detection of obstacles such as High Voltage cables. The pod houses in its nose a C02 laser which scans an 8° box: 2° up, 6° down, and 4° left and right, executing a near-vertical sinusoidal scan pattern at 50kHz, to build up a picture in 1-1.5 sec.
This picture is overlaid on the HUD FLIR image, and obstacles, once detected and stored, continue to be displayed even after they have moved out of the 8° box covered by the scanning laser.
Locus is designed to detect a 1 cm-diameter cable at l-5km range in pouring rain, giving sufficient time for the pilot to avoid an obstacle that is neither logged in the digital terrain database nor visible on FLIR.
The pod was ground-tested before shipment to the US Navy and worked successfully in the Real Night trial when it detected cables out to 2km.
Mike Busbridge and Dave Puleston of GEC Avionics Ltd presented a paper on the trial ‘A laser obstacle avoidance and display system’ at the Aerospace and Electronics Conference, 1989.