Lewis-McChord to get new sensors for low-flying helicopters

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — The Army plans a $4.6 million system at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help monitor helicopters that fly below 500 feet — under the radar.

The system will improve safety for training flights at the base where four pilots were killed in a 2011 helicopter collision.

The News Tribune reports that the Army hired Saab Defense and Security to build a Wide Area Multilateration system. It would place sensors around the training areas to give air traffic control at Gray Army Airfield a more complete picture of helicopters in flight.

The system has previously been installed at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California and the home of Navy aviation, Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Lewis-McChord has 140 helicopters.