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Locating forward opportune landing sites using spectral images from satellites

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1 Author(s)
Botschner, R. ; Ball Areospace & Technol. Corp., Faiborn, OH, USA

The ability of future combat airlifters to deliver cargo into short, austere opportune landing sites which are very close to operating field units is expected to greatly improve the effectiveness of the US warfighter. The use of spectral image data from satellites such as EarthWatch as the medium for identifying opportune landing sites is described. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (BATC) performed a study to explore the feasibility and data requirements for this concept. The study's objectives were twofold: evaluate and demonstrate airlifter value; evaluate and demonstrate opportune landing site selection concept feasibility. Several areas within the US were selected for evaluation. Spectral data were collected for several image resolutions in each area. The images were characterized with attributes that must be satisfied to choose areas as opportune landing sites. Opportune landing areas were selected across large areas and the selection was refined based on higher resolution spectral images. Site surveys were used to grade the accuracy of selection. The number of opportune landing sites (as short as 600 ft) relative to traditional runway lengths was determined and compared. An operational site selection process that includes automated and semi-automated mission planning elements was proposed

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronics Conference, 1997. NAECON 1997., Proceedings of the IEEE 1997 National  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

14-18 Jul 1997