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Locating forward opportune landing sites using spectral images from satellites

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1 Author(s)
Botschner, R. ; Ball Aerosp. & Technol. Corp., Fairborn, 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. But how do we find and select those sites in a quickly-changing battle scenario? The use of spectral image data from satellites such as EarthWatch as the medium for identifying opportune landing sites is the concept of interest and is described. A study was performed to explore the feasibility and data requirements for this concept. The study's objectives were two-fold: (1) evaluate and demonstrate airlifter value; and (2) evaluate and demonstrate opportune landing site selection concept feasibility. Spectral data was collected in several image resolutions for selected areas within the US. Potential opportune landing sites 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 feet) relative to traditional runway lengths was determined and compared

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 1998

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