AgustaWestland Helicopter Obstacle Proximity LIDAR System (OPLS)
Earlier in 2014 AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters) gained EASA certification of a new laser based obstacle warning safety system to help protect helicopters from main and tail rotor strikes when operating in confined areas and close to obstacles (e.g. around a helideck). Initially available as an option for the AW139, it will be made available for AW169, AW189 and AW101.
The Obstacle Proximity LIDAR System (OPLS) uses three independent fixed Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors, a central computer (a GE MAGIC 1) and a dedicated control panel. It can present a 360º representation of adjacent obstacles (closer than 25m) on the aircraft’s existing Multi-Functional Displays with a two level aural tone as the clearance distance reduces.
The OPLS system is expected to be of particular value for military, offshore, Search and Rescue (SAR) and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) helicopters.