Redstone Defense Systems has selected Northrop Grumman to upgrade the US Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter fleet.
The company will supply a scalable, fully integrated mission equipment package for the UH-60L cockpit and will also replace the older analogue gauges with digital electronic instrument displays.
The upgrade represents the first fully integrated avionics system for an army utility aircraft, and covers an estimated 700 to 900 helicopters.
Following the upgrade, the UH-60L fleet will be designated as the UH-60V.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Situational Awareness Systems vice-president Ike Song said: "We are committed to this critical upgrade programme that will prolong the life of the UH-60, while keeping warfighters safer by enhancing their situational awareness.
"Our integrated mission avionics solution is built on mature, proven technology and an open architecture approach for superior performance, affordability, growth potential and reliability."
Designed to replicate the newer UH-60M pilot-vehicle interface, Northrop’s next-generation digital cockpit solution provides a common training environment, and has already been demonstrated through a flight test on a UH-60L helicopter.
The small, lightweight system requires less power than legacy processing systems and features a centralised processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight programme with an integrated architecture that offers new capabilities through software-only solutions, rather than hardware additions.
The architecture also reportedly maximises the UH-60L platform performance and reliability, while minimising the total lifecycle cost.
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, 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: Northrop’s digital cockpit solution has been demonstrated during a flight test on a UH-60L helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corp.