Aviation

The US Navy Happy to Explore the Technology Front

Naval Aviators in the US are now using advanced software capabilities to enhance landing on a carrier. The plan is to create an opportunity for the navy to design a safer and easier aircraft to fly. Started by Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVN-8) division, this new program looks to bring software technologies to the forefront of the US Naval industry. The software has been planned to be deployed on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the tenth and final Nimitz-class supercarrier of the United States Navy.

Christened by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) as Magic Carpet, the move has sparked curiosity among military experts and is expected to be a major push towards the affordance of new technical improvements and interactions. Magic Carpet stands for Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies. The system that drives Magic is called Precision Landing Modes (PLM). PLM has the ability to drastically reduce workloads in the cockpit during carrier approaches.

“PLM is probably the biggest advancement to carrier aviation since the IFLOLS (improved Fresnel lens optical landing system) was installed,” Lt. Jaime ‘Eeyore’ Moreno, a landing signals officer (LSO) onboard Bush told the Pentagon’s Naval Aviation News service.

“Flying at night on the first PLM would have been fine, although we started with day flights,” Lt. Zach Pleis, CVW-11 LSO, who had used the system onboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in November told Naval Aviation News. “I think it went better than our [Powered Approach Control Augmentation System] players because PLM pilots are developing habit patterns of flying a centered ball vice bumping it up.”

“All results showed benefits in touchdown dispersion reduction of more than 50 percent when compared to current landing control techniques,” James Denham, a NAVAIR senior aeromechanics engineer told Naval Aviation News.

As NAVAIR prepares to jumpstart operations, it is still to be seen what other features have been fitted into the final version of Magic Carpet. However, NAVAIR will use the early feedback from the initial Magic Carpet capability deployments to refine the software for the 2019 version. “Now we have the opportunity to incorporate desired enhancements for the final software release scheduled in fiscal 2019,” Denham said.