CHARLOTTE, N.C. – UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), announced today that it has entered into a memorandum of agreement with Ophir Corporation to develop and commercialize Ophir’s laser air data system. The companies will collaborate in technology and product development for entry into commercial service in as few as five years.
Unlike current pitot probe air data sensors, which monitor air pneumatically using pressurized air or gas, this new system will use Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensing techniques to measure various air data parameters. Laser air data systems are not susceptible to icing and aerodynamic drag, and as a result they free up power to be used elsewhere on the aircraft. Laser air data systems will operate reliably in virtually all environments and operate down to zero velocity and at all angles of attack and sideslip, thus expanding information available to the flight control system. One day, experts anticipate laser air data systems may even be able to look ahead of the aircraft to better navigate turbulence, thereby enhancing passenger safety and comfort.
The laser air data system technology developed by Ophir is unique in that it is capable of meauring the full range of air data parameters (temperature, velocity, angle of attack, angle of side slip and altitude) in a manner that is fully dissimilar to traditional air data systems. The companies anticipate that laser air data systems will be used in concert with UTC Aerospace Systems’ field-proven air data sensors as part of a more intelligent air data architecture, complementing and strengthening an aircraft’s overall air data collection ability and thus improving flight safety, aircraft efficiency and autonomous control.
Ophir has flight-tested prototypes and has demonstrated the performance potential of the technology. UTC Aerospace Systems and Ophir are collaborating in the design of a new prototype to improve performance, robustness and packaging for future flight-testing with customers.
“Ophir Corporation has been developing, manufacturing and servicing laser radar avionics systems for over thirty years. We are excited to use this heritage experience to collaborate with UTC Aerospace Systems for the commercialization of our laser air data sensor. We believe that this sensor potentially increases aviation flight safety, measurement availability and reliability by providing a redundant air data measurement in all weather conditions,” said Ophir President Martin O’Brien.
“UTC Aerospace Systems has been at the forefront of air data technology since it was first introduced at the outset of the Jet Age, and we’re proud to continue that tradition by collaborating with Ophir on laser air data sensors, which we believe represent the next frontier in air data collection,” said Sensors & Integrated Systems President Justin Keppy. “By helping aircraft measure data more effectively under more conditions, laser air data sensors will allow pilots to make more informed in-flight decisions, thus enhancing flight safety and efficiency.”
About Ophir Corporation
Ophir Corporation develops, manufactures and services laser radar avionics for military and commercial customers. Ophir provides innovative, laser radar solutions aimed to increase aircraft flight safety, optimize wind turbine energy production and meet the needs of our Nation. Ophir is a small business and is an AS9100C and ISO 9001:2008 certified aerospace contractor. For more information about the company, visit our website at www.ophir.com.
About UTC Aerospace Systems
UTC Aerospace Systems is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products. UTC Aerospace Systems designs, manufactures and services integrated systems and components for the aerospace and defense industries, supporting a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and customer service facilities. For more information about the company, visit our website at www.utcaerospacesystems.com or follow us on Twitter: @utcaerosystems
About United Technologies Corporation
United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. By combining a passion for science with precision engineering, the company is creating smart, sustainable solutions the world needs. For more information about the company, visit our website at www.utc.com or follow us on Twitter: @UTC