The US Department of Defense’s Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) is set to begin the modernisation process of the Army’s Lima-model UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
CCAD industrial engineer Jackie Allen said that the depot will start the nine-step recapitalisation process on the Black Hawk this fiscal year and is expected to convert 760 Black Hawks to Victor-model in the next decade.
The modification of the UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter to a Victor (V) model will focus on the introduction of technological upgrades on the cockpit and the electronic components within the helicopter.
CCAD aircraft production director Don Dawson said: “[Lima models] have old analogue dial instrumentation. What this [upgrade] does is gives [the Victor model] a full glass cockpit.”
The glass digital suite cockpit will be similar to the UH‑60M Mike model and allows for enhanced pilot vehicle interface (PVI).
According to Program Executive Office, Redstone Arsenal Aviation product manager lieutenant colonel Andrew Duus, the digital cockpit with open architecture will allow for quick addition of capabilities in the future.
Duus said: “The open system architecture will significantly minimise the time getting new technology uploaded into the aircraft.”
Currently, US Army pilots are undergoing training on Sikorsky UH-60M aircraft that are already equipped with the digital cockpit.
Dawson added: “[The upgrade] will speed up the cost of training for new pilots, because they now can learn, essentially, one cockpit instead of two.”
Last year, Northrop Grumman delivered a digital cockpit software to the US Army for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter.
The company was selected to supply the Integrated Avionics Suite for the upgrade. The Northrop Grumman system is nearly identical to the UH‑60M PVI.
Black Hawk helicopters are deployed to perform missions such as air assault, general support, aeromedical evacuation, command and control, as well as special operations for combat, stability and support missions.