Solve Helicopter Brownout

Posted 11/29/10 (Mon)

CHALLENGE

Helicopter BrownoutsDue to increased U.S. military helicopter operations in desert regions of the world, “helicopter brownout” was causing loss of life and mission degradation, and costs of approximately $100 million a year for the Department of Defense in terms of equipment damage and aircraft loss. Three out of every four allied coalition helicopter mishaps in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters have been caused by brownout conditions.The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) requested assistance from the Defense Alliance in its urgent requirement to locate technology solutions to the problem. AFRL had a 6-month requirement to achieve a 60% solution.

SOLUTION

With an urgent call to the Defense Alliance membership, potential providers were asked to focus on rapid, potentially unconventional concepts that would be non-competitively bid in the near term. The Defense Alliance put out a call for brief, technical white papers to propose solutions. Within 10 days, the Alliance had submitted 10 papers to AFRL, three of which were considered for applications, and one of which was provided a contract for further proof of concept.