All helicopters require landing lights for safety and some require them to carry out specific operations. At night, shining a landing light onto the ground allows you to touch down without running into any dangerous surprises. The same light can also be used to visually search the helicopter’s environment, for example for a SAR mission. But what about when you’re operating covertly, aiming to remain undetected? Here, using a bright visible light for search operations and landings might make your position rather obvious to those you’d prefer didn’t know you were there.
That’s where aerospace company Leonardo comes in. Sales and Marketing Director Alberto Pietra, from Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems division, explains; “For helicopter visual search and landings, Light Emitting Diode (LED) based-lamps such as those provided by Leonardo are the most reliable and long-lasting. But in a new development, for operators who need to conduct operations stealthily, for example for SAR-CSAR operations, we’ve designed a new search and landing light. This product, in additional to providing a standard visible light beam, also uses InfraRed LEDs to create a beam of IR energy. This is invisible to the naked eye but can be picked up by a helicopter crew’s night vision equipment, allowing the aircraft to maintain a ‘low profile’ while conducting searches.”
The new ‘LED Search and Landing Light’ product is a steerable helicopter light featuring a ‘dual-mode’ capability. Including both visible LED and ‘covert’ InfraRed LED modes, it comes in a ready-to-use configuration. The new product is designed to provide excellent performance in all operational environments.
“Using Leonardo’s LED Search and Landing Light, Customers can not only benefit from high performances in both visible and non-visible modes, they can also, and most importantly, switch from visible mode to IR light without any additional set-up. This allows for an increase in mission readiness, flexibility and safety for the crew” says Pietra. “Installation is easy because the light is fully compliant with standard helicopter search and landing light fixtures.”
Leonardo’s Dual Mode LED Search and Landing Light is now available worldwide following the successful supply to a major customer in 2016. The light was originally designed with the Customer in order to accommodate the most challenging operational environments. Notably, it is the first product of its type worldwide.
Its characteristics, based on the ease of installation and compliance with standard fixing systems make it suitable for those Customers looking for a convenient, effective and on-budget solution.
“We saw this need from our Customers and worked hard to be the first to solve it in the most convenient and cost-effective way” concludes Pietra. “We’d be delighted to speak to any Customer who would like to easily upgrade to the new system and introduce this capability into service.”
Leonardo is among the top ten global players in Aerospace, Defence and Security and one of Italy’s main industrial companies. RWI