AAI to provide ABE systems for RAN Seahawk helicopters

5 November 2013 (Last Updated November 5th, 2013 18:30)

The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has awarded a contract to AAI Test & Training, an operating unit of Textron Systems, to provide Advanced Boresight Equipment (ABE) systems for use on the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.

US Navy's MH-60R helicopter

The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has awarded a contract to AAI Test & Training, an operating unit of Textron Systems, to provide Advanced Boresight Equipment (ABE) systems for use on the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.

Under the $1.6m contract, the company will deliver the ABE systems to support the Seahawk helicopters, while deliveries are scheduled to take place throughout 2014.

AAI Test & Training senior vice-president and general manager Steve Mensh said the ABE systems have been used for more than 20 aircraft platforms, due to their precision measurement accuracy and repeatability.

"In addition, we've made the system user friendly to minimise training requirements and greatly reduce boresight time," Mensh said.

"The ABE system will provide the Royal Australian Navy the same trusted boresight solution as currently used by the US Navy," Mensh continued.

ABE is a gyro-stabilised, electro-optical angular measurement system that has been designed to align aircraft subsystems.

The US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy, along with several allied nations, also use the system.

"ABE is a gyro-stabilised, electro-optical angular measurement system that has been designed to align aircraft subsystems."

The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multimission helicopter can support a range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search and rescue (SAR), naval gunfire support (NGFS), surveillance, communications relay, logistics support and personnel transfer and vertical replenishment (VERTREP).

Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines, the MH-60R has a maximum take-off weight of 10,659kg, a range of 834km and service ceiling of 3,438m.

The helicopter is armed with a range of weapons on the four weapons stations, including Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles and can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes as well as pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun.


Image: US Navy's MH-60R helicopter being serviced. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.

Defence Technology