The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have started integrating the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) on to F-35 jets.
The firms say that they have successfully fielded the life-saving technology seven years earlier than previously planned.
“This is a great day for the warfighter as the Auto-GCAS is a proven system that is long over-due,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, F-35 Program Executive Officer.
“Expediting this life-saving technology into the F-35 across the global fleet will bring more warfighters home. Over the service life of the F-35 fleet, having Auto-GCAS is estimated to prevent more than 26 ground collisions from happening. It is indeed a remarkable achievement in aeronautics which will improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of the F-35. The time and effort expended to deliver this critical warfighting capability is worth it – it will save lives.”
Originally developed for the F-16 in partnership with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Auto-GCAS uses terrain mapping, geolocation and automation to detect and avoid potential ground collisions. When the program recognises imminent impact, it will prompt the pilot to take action. If the pilot is unresponsive, Auto-GCAS assumes temporary control to divert the aircraft out of harm’s way, and then returns control of the aircraft to the pilot once on a safe trajectory.
The system has been operating successfully aboard the F-16 for more than five years and has already been credited with saving eight F-16 pilots’ lives since 2014.