The US Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) has awarded a contract to MillenWorks for development of components for the helicopter crew safety system (HCSS).

The unspecified deal involves development of two HCSS components, which includes a harness system and fatigue reduction device, over a period of 18 months to help enhance the protection of helicopter pilots and crew.

As part of the contract, the company and RDECOM’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) will conduct component analysis, design work, prototype construction and laboratory testing, with an aim to produce qualification test-ready designs for the two subsystems.

Work is focused at boosting the systems’ technology readiness level (TRL) from 4/5 to 6, marking a step forward in production.

"The system enables the pilot to take proactive measures prior to a crash."

MillenWorks General manager Paul PierAgostini said that the company would support the AATD in accomplishing its mission to transition critical technologies, such as the HCSS, into solutions capable of sustaining and enhancing the army aviation.

"Over a three-year period, we’ve been applying our innovative vehicle safety and suspension systems design experience to develop helicopter crew safety system components," PierAgostini added.

The company will further enhance the active headrest and tensioning retractor system of its continuously resettable aircrew safety harness, in an effort to satisfy the AATD’s specific military standards.

The system enables the pilot to take proactive measures, such as tightening the seatbelts and deploying an advanced headrest, prior to a crash, and has already displayed its ability to improve crew safety during testing and technology demonstrations.

For the development of the fatigue reduction device, MillenWorks will design and test an elastomer vibration dampening system for helicopter crash-worthy seats, to help lessen vibrations that lower crew performance and cause injuries.

Manufacturing work under the contract is scheduled to take place at the company’s Tustin facility in California, US.