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GAv 'Cheap Night' Drinks Coaster

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C1693
Category: Corporate/Business
Object Type: Promotional Item
Object Name: GAv 'Cheap Night' Drinks Coaster
Part No: None
Serial No: None
Manufacturer: GEC Avionics
Division: Airborne Display [ADD]
Platform(s): A-7 Corsair
Year of Manufacture: 1984
Width (mm):
Height (mm):
Depth (mm):
Weight (g):
Location: Coasters Box in Display Cabinet 1 [Main Store]

'Project Cheap Night' in the centre and around the rim 'GEC Avionics Night Attack Systems, Airborne Display Division, Total 24Hr Capability'


During 1983 the Company raster HUD system was demonstrated to the US Marine Corps and the Naval Weapons Center (NWC) gave the go-ahead in December of that year for a demonstration system to be installed in one of its TA-7C aircraft.

Installation was completed in less than five months after the go-ahead was given and resulted in the highly successful trials at China Lake during 1984 under the name ‘Cheap Night’. The project emblem was a picture of a 'lady' leaning against a lamp post! This rather tongue-in-cheek title was to draw attention to the fact that a fixed FLIR plus NVG would turn out cheaper than a more complex gimballed system.

Project ‘Cheap Night’ was run in order to evaluate a night-time low-level visual-navigation concept that would allow Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in night operations using the same natural pilot techniques as during the day. It would thus permit more aggressive manoeuvring and lower-level flight than previous approaches. By flying at night and at very low levels, using terrain masking, the pilot can prevent both visual and radar detection. Cheap Night used a complementary system approach composed of a Navigation Forward Looking Infrared (NAVFLIR) sensor, a raster Head-Up-Display (HUD), Night Vision Goggles (NVG), a Moving Map Display (MMD), a high-resolution Head Down- Display (HDD), and the aircraft's inertial navigation system (INS).

The Cheap Night system differed slightly from the conceptual system in that the demonstration aircraft's Projected Map Display System (PMOS) was used in place of a more modern Moving Map Display (MOD).

The HUD provided the pilot with necessary flight data as well as the FLIR image on a screen in front of the windshield at eye level so that he would not have to look down into the cockpit during critical low-level flight manoeuvres.

The pilots' helmets were fitted with mounting brackets for NVG that allowed them to see with near daylight clarity under very low light level conditions such as moon or star light.

By boresighting the fixed position of the FLIR to the HUD, the pilot always had a FLIR scene presentation at night identical to his daytime HUD presentation. Since the HUD and FLIR were boresighted to the aircraft, the FLIR scene provided aircraft to outside world orientation. The night vision goggles allowed the pilot to look through his HUD combining gJass at night, just as he does during the day, at the real world or to look at the FLIR scene presentation on the HUD combiner.

The NVG provided the pilot with the capability of seeing the world around the aircraft at night and to look into turns. The capability to "see" and to look into turns at night allowed the pilot to manoeuvre more aggressively than ever before possible at night.
Additional gains included the ability to see the target through battlefield smoke which was tested by flying in the vicinity of nearby forest fires and to detect other aircraft that would not normally be seen.

The ‘Cheap Night’ programme was followed by another entitled ‘Quick Night’ at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland USA.

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