AFRL-NASA ACAT Team Wins Av Week Laureate Award

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Automatic Collision Avoidance Technology Fighter Risk Reduction Program (ACAT/FRRP) team, which includes NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, has won an Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine Laureate Award for its successful development and flight test of an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System.

The award was announced March 8 during the magazine's 54th Annual Laureate Awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

NASA Dryden led the project's integrated test team, which was responsible for the technical content of the project's test and evaluation, maintenance of the Air Force's F-16D test aircraft, project management and engineering services, and provision of the project's chief pilot.

"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by Aviation Week this way," said Dryden's Mark Skoog, the team's project manager. "Speaking for the NASA and Air Force Flight Test Center team, we were proud to contribute to this team effort by ironing out the system requirements with Air Combat Command, bringing improved digital data to the system, acquiring and preparing the test jet, as well as conducting and evaluating the thrilling flight test effort," Skoog said.

The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, or Auto GCAS, is a lifesaving aircraft technology that incorporates onboard digital terrain mapping data, a robust terrain scan pattern, and "time to avoid impact" algorithms to predict impending ground collisions and, at the last moment, execute avoidance maneuvers. The result is a system that automatically prevents controlled flight into terrain, the leading cause of all fighter aircraft mishaps.

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