June 4, 2008 – ATLANTA, GA – nGimat has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I from the U.S. Air Force to develop a lightweight, low-cost electronic bumper system for maintaining safe clearance from obstacles during brownout approach and landing. Brownout is when helicopters and other equipment that moves significant air near the ground causing significant dust blowing where visibility can be lowered to near zero.
Brownout is a serious problem for all US services, leading to numerous aircraft and personnel losses in the war zone. The most serious (Class A) mishaps involve collision with an obstacle or dynamic rollover due to the landing gear impacting sloped/uneven terrain or a ground hazard. An “Electronic Bumper” system would detect and track major obstacles/hazards, including other aircraft in the flight, during brownout, and virtually all low/no visibility approach and landings even if due to smoke or fog. To demonstrate an electronic bumper system, nGimat will build on its past success in making tunable components and phased array antennas. By teaming with Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) who possesses strong expertise in radar technology, nGimat expects the project to be successfully implemented.
In the Phase I effort, nGimat will develop a system level concept, and build and test critical components. Future work would entail building a prototype hardware/software, perform field tests, and conduct further risk analysis to meet the cost/weigh/performance goals. After completion of Phases I and II, nGimat will be able to deliver a full functional system to the Air Force.
Through its core technology of NanoSpraySM Combustion Processing, nGimat is a cost-effective manufacturer and innovator of nanoEngineered MaterialsSM in the following areas: nanopowders, thin films and devices. The Company currently has a portfolio of 46 U.S. patents, 72 non-U.S. patents, and is processing about 70 patent applications.