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Lightening The Workload For The Helicopter Crews


arnborough, UK. – Military helicopter operations, among the most difficult and dangerous in today’s defence environment, are set to benefit from a new British-led study to reduce the intensity of crew workload, especially in combat conditions.

The study is led by CORDA, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, working in partnership with Agusta Westland and Qinetiq. It is one of eight covered by a new three-year, £5m Maritime Surface Effects (MSE) research programme, awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence. Modern-day tactical, mission and weapon systems will be studied to evaluate the impact they each have on crew workload. The results will be analysed to ensure tasks can be completed with greater safety and survivability.

“Improving the crew-machine interface is safety critical safety, particularly in today’s challenging operational environment,” says Samir Patel, CORDA’s MSE programme manager. This study will lead to the selection and integration of new advanced systems, ultimately reducing pilot and crew workload, providing higher performance and improved safety for our servicemen and women.”

The study will be carried out at a number of UK locations, including Bristol, Farnborough and Yeovil. A generic helicopter simulator will be fitted with various systems to assess the effect each has on a crew’s work levels.

“Using a synthetic environment will give us a very broad scope of assessment,” states Patel. “Individual systems can be integrated in a variety of combinations allowing us to understand the best fit to achieve optimum man/machine work ratios.”

Initial experiments planned for January 2008 will focus on weapon system options.

CORDA’s key capability lies in the combination of scientific, technical, and financial skills, with military domain expertise, providing a complete defence consultancy service focused at the concept and assessment phases of the defence lifecycle.


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