Thales has been awarded a contract to support Northrop Grumman in the US Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk cockpit upgrade programme.
The company will supply its i-FMS200 flight management system software to Northrop for integration into the avionics mission equipment package being developed for the modernisation of the UH-60L cockpit.
The upgraded version of the Black Hawk helicopter will be designated as UH-60V.
Thales USA chief executive officer Alan Pellegrini said: "This is a further expansion of our presence in the US military helicopter market."
Developed in cooperation with Northrop over the past three years, the i-FMS200 software decreases pilot workload, increases operational capability and improves efficiency through mission specifics.
The Federal Aviation Administration-approved software has already proven its ability to be integrated into the mission equipment package during a flight demonstration on the UH-60L.
When hosted directly on Northrop’s mission computer, the software is expected to provide architecture weight and cost optimisation on the UH-60V aircraft, eliminating the requirement for stand-alone FMS hardware.
In addition to i-FMS200, Thales will also supply the civilian-certified TOP Star 200 GPS system, which is expected to upgrade more than 750 helicopters under the UH-60V programme.
Designed to replicate the newer UH-60M pilot-vehicle interface, Northrop’s next-generation digital cockpit solution 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 is also expected to maximise performance and reliability, while minimising the total life cycle cost of the upgraded platform.
Aligned with the future airborne capability environment standard, the small and lightweight package also supports integration of off-the-shelf software and hardware, enabling rapid insertion of capabilities and reducing the cost and risk for system integration and upgrades.
Image: Northrop’s digital cockpit solution was demonstrated during a flight test on a UH-60L helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.