Northrop Grumman and Redstone Defense Systems have successfully completed a critical design review (CDR) of the US Army’s UH-60V Black Hawk programme.

The team reviewed the scalable design, technical data package, navigation system performance, and portability of software applications.

The review also evaluated the system’s readiness for the fabrication and integration phases of the development programme.

Part of a contract awarded by the army in 2015, the development is to provide mission equipment packages to upgrade the cockpits of its UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters, after which the UH-60L fleet will be designated under UH-60V.

The new open, architecture-based cockpit design will replace legacy analogue gauges with digital instrument displays.

"We are one major step closer to fielding advanced capabilities for the warfighter through a truly integrated cockpit solution."

Northrop Grumman Land & Avionics C4ISR Division Mission Solutions vice-president Ike Song said: "Our highly affordable cockpit solution will give customers greater flexibility than ever before by enabling avionics upgrades with or without the original equipment manufacturers involvement.

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"Completion of this milestone validates our approach and means that we are one major step closer to fielding advanced capabilities for the warfighter through a truly integrated cockpit solution."

Aligned with the future airborne capability environment (FACE) standard, the avionics system also supports the integration of off-the-shelf software and hardware, facilitating rapid insertion of capabilities, while lowering the cost and risk for system integration and upgrades.

Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, the UH-60L is an upgraded version of the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, featuring advanced T700-GE-701C engines, increased durability gearbox and an updated flight control system.

Image: The UH-60V Black Hawk is an upgraded version of the UH-60L shown in the picture. Photo: courtesy of SSGT Suzanne M. Jenkins, USAF.