Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW) today announced that its defence solutions division will introduce a new, low-cost, single operator shipboard helicopter handling system (HHS) designed specifically to address the size and weight limits of smaller ships, at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition 2015 (stand S9-231).

A more compact and lighter variation of the company’s proven TC-ASIST HHS, the new INDAL Manual Aircraft Straighten and Traverse (MAST) system is track-based and controlled using a chest pack-mounted portable control unit worn by the operator while working alongside the aircraft.

This approach eliminates the need for a permanent HHS console onboard an already space constrained ship. The INDAL MAST system combines design attributes of the proven Italian Navy TC-ASIST (Orrizonte / FREMM) with elements from the in-service Royal Navy MANTIS Handler.

INDAL MAST is landing grid compatible and safely and securely manoeuvres and traverses a wide variety of helicopters, including the Lynx, EH101 and Dauphin between the flight deck and the hangar.

Enabling helicopter missions in harsh environments, MAST is designed to deliver optimal performance in all weather conditions, day and night, in sea conditions up to sea state 6.

Defense solutions division senior vice-president and general manager Lynn Bamford said: "As naval helicopter deployments increase around the globe, rotorcrafts are more frequently tasked with landing onboard smaller ships."

"Our new, innovative Manual Aircraft Straighten and Traverse system is the first to deliver a low-cost, single operator solution for securing and traversing helicopters on space constrained smaller vessels."

About the MAST
Once the INDAL MAST system has fully engaged it provides the helicopter with total security from toppling or sliding. After landing, the system secures the helicopter via a simple interface with the helicopter main landing gear.

INDAL MAST enables re-centring and alignment of the helicopter with the track axis and traversing the helicopter between the flight deck landing spot and the hangar.

Additionally, the system can be used to easily position the helicopter to optimise alignment for external stores loading.

INDAL MAST performance features:

  • Provides positive securing against sliding and toppling
  • Provides fully controlled and guided movement during straightening and traversing
  • Requires minimal operator training
  • Provides precise alignment and positioning of aircraft during traversing through hangar door
  • Safe operation (operator not in contact with airframe / no exposed cables on deck)
  • Single system operator required on deck for full system functionality

In order to quantify system requirements and to define optimised operating envelopes for the general sea state conditions, INDAL can undertake a dynamic interface analysis (DIA) of the ship response to the seaway and the ship-helicopter dynamic system as a part of initial design activities.

For more information about Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division, please visit the company website.