BRRRT with Surround Sound: A-10 May Get New 3D Audio System
The U.S. Air Force may soon finalize how many surround-sound audio systems it will retrofit into the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft as part of an effort to give Warthog pilots more situational awareness.
Earlier this month, the Air Force quietly issued an update to an earlier request for information, saying it plans to award Terma North America Inc., a defense aerospace company, a sole-source contract to integrate a commercial off-the-shelf three-dimensional audio system "to drastically improve the spatial, battlespace, and situational awareness of the A-10C pilots," according to the solicitation on the government contracting website FedBizOpps. The RFI was originally issued last December. Janes first reported on the new update, which was also cited by the War Zone.
According to Terma, the 3D audio works as a self-protection system. Pilots have multiple audio signals coming at them, making it difficult to discern certain radio calls or even warnings. Terma's system breaks that apart into a surround-sound effect to better hear dueling signals.
The 3D audio has been used in the Danish F-16 Fighting Falcon Missile Warner System upgrade, according to the company.
While the Air Force has not set a date for giving Terma an Indefinite Quantity/Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) contract, nor disclosed how many systems it plans to buy, the latest announcement shows the service is willing to invest in capabilities that may make the A-10 more survivable in a high-threat environment.