C-130 Rear Vision Device (Bubble)
MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND SCOTT AFB IL
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In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Military Airlift Command MAC participation in Red Flag, Maple Flag, and other exercises provided strong evidence that airlift aircraft needed a rear vision capability for early warning and defense against air-to-air attacks. The USAF Airlift Center ALCENT developed and tested three devices for providing rearward vision. The first device was a standard HC-130 observation door as used in search and rescue operations. The second device was a 180 degree field-of-view FOV bubble mounted on the cockpit overhead escape hatch. The third device was similar to the second, but it provided a 360-degree FOV. The test was titled MAC Project 15-48-81. The three devices were tested at various exercises and in special sorties against fighters from Langley AFB, Virginia. The test director also consulted members of 47 Squadron, RAF Lyneham C-130, to benefit from their experiences with observation cupolas. The test findings, published in August 1983, confirmed that the 360-degree FOV bubble proved to be the best of the three devices for warning against air-to-air attack and for observing the attacking aircraft during evasive maneuvers.
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