Elbit Systems’ BrightNite visualisation system has been declared operational on PUMA330 helicopters by the air force of a NATO member state, the company announced on 22 May. User feedback has been extremely positive, with pilots emphasising the system’s contribution to degraded visibility environment (DVE) flight conditions and describing it as a “game-changer” and “a breakthrough in pitch dark night flight.”

Low flying helicopters are vulnerable to threats such as hostile fire and obstacles including difficult terrain and utility wires. In addition, sorties must often be carried out in DVE conditions, adding to the already heavy workload and leaving flight crews to rely on night vision goggles to accomplish their mission. BrightNite is designed to overcome visibility limitations and enable to safe and efficient mission execution in pitch dark and DVE conditions, including poor weather, brownouts, whiteouts and sandstorms.

BrightNite transmits high-resolution video to the helmet-mounted display, allowing pilots to fly in a head-up, eyes-out position. The system processes real-time panoramic video as well as pre-loaded terrain and obstacle information, enhanced by a 3D conformal and intuitive symbology. The system uses unified location-based information culled from a wide field-of-view to display crystal clear images, regardless of visibility conditions. BrightNite can present information to multiple pilots simultaneously on an intuitive multi-functional display.

According to The World Defence Almanac 2018, NATO members France, Romania and the United Kingdom are all operators of the SA 330 PUMA medium lift tactical helicopter. (Photo via Elbit Systems)

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