UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies, said pre-market Wednesday that it will collaborate 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, the companies said in a statement. 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, according to the statement.