US Army to upgrade Black Hawk helicopters with BAE’s touchscreen CDUs

2 August 2018 (Last Updated August 2nd, 2018 13:11)

The US Army has awarded a task order to BAE Systems to upgrade the computer display units (CDUs) on-board the service’s fleet of UH-60A/L Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopters.

US Army to upgrade Black Hawk helicopters with BAE’s touchscreen CDUs
A Black Hawk helicopter in flight. Credit: BAE Systems.

The US Army has awarded a task order to BAE Systems to upgrade the computer display units (CDUs) on-board the service’s fleet of UH-60A/L Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopters.

Awarded under a current $226m indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, the new task order will provide the US Army helicopters with a touchscreen navigation system control.

Under the deal, the company will be responsible for the delivery of touchscreen CDUs to upgrade its existing ASN-128 Doppler global positioning system (GPS) navigation system on the army aircraft.

BAE’s self-contained navigation system allows the pilots of the Black Hawk helicopters to view real-time flight plan data during the day and night, as well as in all weather conditions.

BAE Systems Communications and Navigation Solutions director Alan Dewar said: “We’ve been a supplier for the ASN-128 programme since 1978.

“The full touchscreen, with moving map capability, will improve safety for pilots, assisting our customer’s mission success.”

“The full touchscreen, with moving map capability, will improve safety for pilots, assisting our customer’s mission success.”

The touchscreen CDUs will be manufactured at the company’s production facility in Wayne, New Jersey, while the circuit card production will be carried out in Austin, Texas, US.

Delivery of the 250 units of the display units are slated to be carried out next year and in 2020.

Additional orders for the delivery of the CDUs are expected to be placed by the US Army as part of the service’s Black Hawk modernisation plan.

The US Army intends to use the upgraded ASN-128 navigation systems through 2035. The enhancements on the systems will help minimise heads-down tasks and offer safer operation capabilities for the pilots.

The navigation system, which automatically selects Doppler navigation in GPS-denied environments, delivers precise, independent, jam-resistant navigation in both friendly and hostile environments.