Lockheed Martin Participates in Successful Airport Tests to Track Wake Vortices
SYRACUSE, NY, 07-JAN-04 -- Improvements to a promising new laser-based technology recently implemented by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) enabled the detection and tracking of aircraft wake vortices, which previously were undetected.
|Jim Carro examines, in real-time, data being captured by Lockheed Martin's SOCRATES system during testing at the Denver International Airport. Click to download the high-res SOCRATES image (JPG, 113.9 KB).|
Project SOCRATES -- which stands for Sensors for Characterizing Ring-eddy Atmospheric Turbulence Emanating Sound -- is an applied research and development program that leverages declassified military technology previously used for the acoustic detection of submarines. It aims to develop a laser listening device that can hear the sound generated by wake vortices.
During its most recent testing, SOCRATES acoustic equipment employing four separate laser beams was installed in a field about two miles from the Denver airport where approaching aircraft flew approximately 500 feet or higher. SOCRATES was even able to detect a regional jet wake at a range of over six tenths of a mile when it landed at an adjacent runway.
Over 715 wake vortices, created from small regional jets and much larger Boeing and Airbus jets, were detected and tracked during our Denver tests, said Walt Werner, Lockheed Martin's SOCRATES program manager.
The Denver SOCRATES tests were part of a large test program jointly led by NASA Langley Research Center and the Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe Transportation Systems Center. The test program used a host of sensors to characterize the sound generated by wake vortices. In addition to NASA and DOT's Volpe Center, participants included Flight Safety Technologies, OptiNav, Microstar, Titan, Coherent Technologies, Inc., MIT Lincoln Laboratories, United Airlines, Florida Atlantic University and the German Aerospace Center.
In October, Flight Safety Technologies (OTC BB: FLST.OB), the prime contractor for SOCRATES, issued a subcontract to Lockheed Martin in Syracuse for $1.9 million to add more localization capability by adding more sensing beams. Werner hopes the system can have between eight and 16, instead of its current four. With more beams we can better localize the sound and more precisely determine where it's coming from, said Werner.