Lockheed Martin has developed the Common Cockpit avionics suite for installation on the first Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) MH-60R, also known as Romeo, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter.
Development of the 400th digital cockpit marks a production milestone in support of the US Navy's MH-60 Seahawk multi-mission maritime helicopter programme.
H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters programme manager captain James Glass said, to date the Common Cockpit avionics suite has reached more than 600,000 flight hours aboard the US Navy's fleet of 360 MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters, while supporting highly effective flight and mission systems.
"A digital, all glass cockpit that's common to both platforms and operationally proven will enable critical interoperability between MH-60 aircraft operated by both the Australian and US navies," Glass added.
Equipped with four large flat-panel, multi-function, night-vision-compatible colour displays, the avionics suite has been designed to process and manage communications and sensor data streaming into MH-60 multi-mission helicopters for enhanced situational awareness.
Australian MH-60R programme project director captain Scott Lockey said: "The Australian acquisition of 24 multi-mission Romeo helicopters means that we will have the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, and we can rely on the Common Cockpit to successfully network and communicate with our fleet."
Built by Sikorsky, the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter supports a range of missions including anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue (SAR), naval gunfire support (NGFS), surveillance, communications relay, logistics support, personnel transfer and vertical replenishment.
The first operational Sikorsky MH-60R helicopter is expected to be delivered to the US Navy in December 2013, with the aircraft then being transferred to RAN in early-2014.
A total of 24 MH-60R aircraft will be delivered to the Australian Navy through the US foreign military sales programme by mid-2016.
Image: Lockheed Martin-built Common Cockpit avionics suite. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.