The US Navy has awarded a software contract to Lockheed to enable MH-60R and MH-60S multimission helicopter aircrews to pre-plan their missions under the joint mission planning system (JMPS) programme.

Lockheed’s software module, configured to JMPS, includes mission characteristics such as anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, airborne mine countermeasures, ship-to-ship cargo resupply and search and rescue missions.

Lockheed naval helicopter programmes director George Barton said the MH-60 module will allow navy Seahawk pilots to capture and load pre-planned data in a compatible format.

“Once airborne, the avionics will know what mission to prosecute, the intended route and navigation waypoints to use, the communications frequencies, weapons and sensors it will employ, and other critical information,” he said.

Work on the $10m MH-60 module will be conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station in California and Maryland, US.

The mission planning computers with the unique planning component are scheduled for deployment in 2012.

The US military’s JMPS has been developed by the US Navy and Air Force and will replace other legacy mission planning systems.