Gen II mission computers

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to supply mission computers in support of the H-1 helicopter upgrade programme.

Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division situational awareness systems vice president Ike Song said as part of the Integrated Avionics System, the mission computers have proven their excellent value and reliability in combat.

"We will be working even more closely with the H-1 Upgrade team to provide cost-effective, high-quality solutions that increase the safety and effectiveness of service members," Ike Song added.

Under the $8.9m contract, Northrop will provide Gen II mission computers to the US Marine Corps (USMC) light attack helicopter programme (PMA-276).

The dual mission computers provide centralised control to the Northrop-built integrated avionics system (IAS), which powers the glass cockpits of UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters.

The mission computers can interface with the tactical moving map and display both situational awareness and health monitoring information while reducing workload.

The systems also provide enhanced aircrew situational awareness in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and deployed Marine Expeditionary Units.

Both the IAS and mission computers incorporate modular architecture which enables easy system upgrades and rapid insertion of new technologies.

The USMC H-1 upgrade programme aims to reduce life cycle and training costs and decreases the logistics footprint for AH-1W and UH-1N aircraft.

The Bell UH-1Y Venom, also called Super Huey, is a twin-engine medium-sized utility helicopter currently in low-rate production to replace the aging Marine Corps fleet of UH-1N twin Huey light utility helicopters.

The Bell AH-1Z Viper, also called SuperCobra, is a twin-engine attack helicopter that features a four-blade, composite main rotor system, fully integrated weapons, avionics and communications systems and will replace USMC’s aging AH-1W aircraft.

Image: Northrop’s mission computers are the heart of integrated avionics system (IAS) that powers the helicopters’ glass cockpits. Photo: Northrop Grumman.