LOCKHEED MARTIN'S PROGRAM TO DETECT WAKE VORTICES ENTERS THIRD PHASE
SYRACUSE, NY, December 5th, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $1.1 million contract to continue development of a program to provide timely warnings of potentially hazardous air disturbances at airports, such as wake vortices, improving airport safety and productivity. Project SOCRATES is a collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Flight Safety Technologies. "Wake vortices are like horizontal tornadoes formed by airplane wings as they move through the air," explained Walt Werner, program manager for Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Radar Systems. "The vortices create high velocity flow that can be dangerous to other aircraft, particularly smaller ones."
Project SOCRATES aims to develop a laser listening device that can "hear" the sound generated by hazardous atmospheric conditions. If these hazards can be detected and tracked, airplanes will take off and land more safely and airport delays can be reduced. Phase III will be conducted with a variety of government-supplied reference sensors to characterize the sound generated by wake vortices and will further examine SOCRATES' capability as a wake turbulence sensor in a noisy airport environment under all weather conditions.
"With an advisory system, the air traffic controllers will be able to bring in planes more rapidly and safely," said Captain Bill Cotton, president of Flight Safety Technologies. "And that would result in a safer, more efficient air transportation system in the United States."
Project SOCRATES, which stands for Sensors for Characterizing Ring-eddy Atmospheric Turbulence Emanating Sound, is an applied research and development program aimed at leveraging declassified military technology. Phase I of the current program was initiated in 1997 when Lockheed Martin engineers and their Flight Safety Technologies colleagues spent two weeks collecting data near the touch-down point for jets landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. They recorded audio signals from more than 300 planes larger than corporate jets, using optical systems consisting of two low-power lasers and signal processing equipment.
Phase II testing followed in December, 2000, at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. To test SOCRATES' capability to detect wake turbulence, NASA aircraft performed flight-level tests at various altitudes over the system. In these tests, the SOCRATES system detected and tracked the location of wake vortices in 100 percent of the over-flights.
A leader in the design, development and integration of radar systems, vessel traffic and port safety, simulation and training systems and other complex electronic systems, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS) - Radar Systems serves a wide range of customers. These include all branches of the U.S. armed services, including the Coast Guard, as well as other agencies within the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Transportation and State, and defense and transportation departments of countries on six continents. NE&SS-Radar Systems employs over 3,000 people with facilities in the U.S. and three other countries, and is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The corporation's core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics, and technology services.
For additional information on Flight Safety Technologies, visit http://www.flysafetech.com