DCS employee-owners pose with the Collier Trophy. Mark Wilkins (third from left) and Finley Barfield (not pictured) are key members of the winning Auto-GCAS Team. (Image courtesy: DCS Corp)

F-35 and F-16 ground collision avoidance software team takes Collier Trophy

Two members of DCS Corp – Mark Wilkins and Finley Barfield – won the highly distinguished Robert J. Collier Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association for their work on the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) team. Wilkins and Barfield are both co-owners of DCS.

When considering the risks that fighter pilots face during combat, it might be surprising that the number one killer is ground collision, or Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT). The danger of CFIT led the Defense Safety Oversight Council (DSOC) to partner with the AFRL to reduce the chances that combat pilots and aircraft would succumb to ground and mid-air collisions. The result of that partnership is the Auto-GCAS on F-16 Fighting Falcons and now the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II aircraft.


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.

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