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The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to deliver next-generation mission computers, as part of a programme to upgrade the Marine Corps’ H-1 helicopters.

Northrop FlightPro Gen III mission computers will be integrated into the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft, which form the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons.

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Situational Awareness Systems business unit vice-president Ike Song said: "The FlightPro Gen III mission computer has the latest computing technology and increased processing resources, to improve situational awareness and lighten warfighters’ workloads.

"Our latest model builds on the FlightPro product line’s solid reputation, value, proven performance and reliability in combat."

Deliveries under the contract are set to be completed by October 2017.

"The FlightPro Gen III mission computer has the latest computing technology and increased processing resources."

The integration of identical mission computers for both aircraft will deliver better cost efficiency and simplify logistics for deployed forces. The system features enhanced mission, weapons and video processing capabilities in a conduction-cooled, airborne computer.

The dual mission computers, which are the key element of the company’s integrated avionics system (IAS) that powers the helicopters’ glass cockpits, provide integrated control of the IAS and show both situational awareness and health monitoring data.

The open, modular architecture of IAS and mission computers will enable easy system upgrades, rapid integration of new technologies and the incorporation of other platform avionics, communication and survivability tools.

Northrop also provides the operational flight programme software that runs the IAS.

Image: Northrop’s FlightPro Gen III mission computer for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Defence Technology