For the past three decades American and Israeli scientists have been engaged in a fruitful collaborative effort and have jointly conducted dozens of challenging research and development programs, aimed at improving the performance of US and Israel's military helicopters and to integrate advanced capabilities in future platforms.
An official ceremony was held at Israel's Ministry of Defense (IMOD) on November 3, 2016, on the occasion of 30 years of fruitful collaboration in the domains of rotorcraft technologies and human factors engineering. The ceremony was headed by US Ambassador to Israel, HE Dan Shapiro, and IMOD Head of DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (res) Dr. Daniel Gold and attended by Director of US ARMDEC, Mr. James B. Lackey, IMOD Head of R&D Technology Base, Dr. Moshe Goldberg, officials and guests.
The rotorcrafts technologies effort is jointly headed by the US Army Aviation & Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (ARMDEC) and the IMOD Directorate of Defense Research & Development (DDR&D). Participating parties include the research and development teams at the IAF, the Technion, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Haifa University.
The United States and Israel have been collaborating on rotorcraft technologies since the 1980's, with over one hundred scientists and engineers from both sides developing breakthrough technologies in the areas of aeronautical mechanics, aerodynamics and human factors engineering (HFE) for helicopters.
The operation of helicopters is especially challenging due to the technical complexity and operational demands of low-level night flights. Accordingly, advanced HFE solutions are required to enable efficient and safe operation. The research efforts in this domain resulted in improved pilot displays and obstacle avoidance solutions. Additional efforts addressed the challenge of two aircraft jointly lifting heavy loads, beyond the capacity of a single helicopter. Some of the research products have been implemented in US rotorcraft, come of which are also operated by the IAF. Other will be integrated in future platforms or upgrades.
HE Ambassador Shapiro: “This rotorcraft cooperation has long been considered among the best US-Israel research agreements. It is unique in that it brings together the technical leaders from our two countries to conduct joint research on problems of common interest to our countries. At the same time the personal connections have enriched understanding of each other’s cultures and history and strengthened the ties between the two countries.”
Dr. Danny Gold: "The defense ties and close collaboration of the US and Israel are deep and long lasting. The Rotorcraft Project Agreement (RPA) collaboration is very special, as it embodies the deep research cooperation between the Parties. In my view, the RPA collaboration sets the gold standard for US-Israeli Defense R&D."
Photo credit: Dana Shraga, Ministry of Defense