Elbit expands in civilian market with bad weather landing aid

Elbit Systems' Clear Vision system enables passenger aircraft to land even in storms and fog.

Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is expanding its civilian activity, and has unveiled its Clear Vision system, designed to allow passenger aircraft to land safely even in stormy weather and in low visibility conditions. The system was put on show yesterday at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

Clear Vision is based upon another system that was originally developed for combat aircraft, mostly installed on F-15 and F-16 planes. "the need for a new system arose following an increase in cases of delays in plane landings and disruption to air traffic because weather conditions such as rain and thick fog, which cause visibility problems and make landing difficult," Elbit Systems VP for civilian aviation Dror Yahav explained to "Globes". "Only the most modern and sophisticated aircraft can make automated landings in such conditions," he says, "In many situations, aircraft due to land in Israel too are diverted to other airports in the region, in Cyprus or Jordan."

The new system is based upon an advanced multi-spectral camera that displays its pictures on transparent glass in front of the pilot, enabling him to receive real time information even when he is looking outside the aircraft in preparing for a safe landing. The pictures streamed to him enable him to identify the landing area without interference from the weather, and to land in fog as if there is no fog. "We took military technologies proven in a wide variety of aircraft and civilianized them," Yahav relates, "With the new system operating, the pilot sees outside very well, and can approach the runway more safely."

Elbit Systems salespeople report two initial customers for Clear Vision, and are aiming the system at airlines, and at passenger and executive aircraft manufacturers, that can sell it as an optional extra at the customer's choice, or as a built-in system. "At a time of economic constraints, many airlines will be glad to save the high cost of the fuel consumed when a flight is extended and diverted to land somewhere other than the destination airport because of problematic weather. At some airports, the system can improve landing capability by 70%, and at some by 100%," Yahav says.

Rival company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is also continuing efforts to deepen its civilian activity, and at the Paris Air Show it is presenting the TaxiBot, one of its most intriguing developments in recent years, on which is has registered several patents. TaxiBot is a tow vehicle for passenger aircraft that can save them a great deal of fuel consumed in taxiing from the passenger boarding point to the takeoff point. In addition, IAI promises that use of the vehicle significantly reduces noise nuisance, since the aircraft engines will not need to be run before takeoff. IAI has successfully completed several trials with the new towing vehicle at European airports, with the participation of leading airlines.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 18, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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