The first military system to prevents mid-air collisions between civilian and military aircraft has been introduced by Israel Aerospace Industries .
The Collision Warning System (CWS), is an “innovative, lifesaving solution designed to warn combat pilots in situations when potential collision with commercial and civilian aircraft is imminent,” according to an IAI statement.
The system monitors non-military aircraft by integrating two independent systems; one is known as “Interrogation Friend/Foe,” and the other as “Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast.”
The breakthrough technology was developed by the industry’s MALAM Division to create an aerial picture that “provides a complete air situational picture, with warnings visible only to the military pilot.”
And though civilian aircraft pilots do not get any collision avoidance warnings, military pilots get three: one by voice; one by graphic indicators sent via a tablet panel; and one by symbols presented on the plane’s cockpit displays.
Designed for fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, training aircraft, military helicopters and remotely piloted aircraft, the CWS plots existing and projected flight paths of all aircraft flying in the area. The military pilot then receives a detailed picture that shows the proximity of any civilian aircraft and the potential risk of collision.
On July 7 2015, two people were killed when a civilian and military aircraft collided in the United States. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the F-16 pilot had been aware of the civilian Cessna, and had even been advised by air traffic control to avoid colliding with it.
But, according to the military pilot, there was no visual confirmation on the civilian aircraft until it was 500 feet in front of his plane, and despite the attempts at avoidance, the two aircraft did ultimately collide.
“The growing congestion of the airspace and lack of integration between military and civil air spaces requires new, independent solutions to prevent collisions. Such systems will improve flight safety without compromising operational freedom,” said Jacob Galifat, General Manager of the IAI/MALAM Division.
“The CWS we are introducing today combines the independence, operational freedom, ease of integration and affordability which are so important for the military operator, enabling military pilots to fly safely, without risk to civilian or military aircraft nearby in both training and operational flights.”
The system is currently being tested by several leading air forces.