Northrop Grumman displayed its glass cockpit for the Sikorsky UH-60L cockpit digitization program at this year’s Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) convention in Washington, D.C.
The open architecture digital system involves both hardware and software, to include partitioned and architecture driven solution, according to Ike Song, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Situational Awareness Systems business unit. He noted that the “glass cockpit design will provide maximum life with minimal obsolescence issues.”
The overall program is part of the U.S. Army’s effort to digitize the UH-60L and provide exact pilot vehicle interface (PVI) as the UH-60M, he said. While the Northrop Grumman system will improve the hardware, the major improvements will be in replacing the current analogue steam gauges with digital avionics, Song said.
The new Northrop Grumman software program will put all of the avionics into a single mission computer to replace multiple processors in multiple LRUs (line replacement units) with a single LRU, Song said.
This centralized processor allows the Army to use software-only solutions rather than hardware to advance the capability of the overall system.
Song noted that this centralized approach has been used on the U.S. Marine Corps Bell UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft. The software can be used on either aircraft, and will automatically reconfigure itself depending on the mission.
The Northrop Grumman software is designed to ARINC 653 standards to ensure DO-178C and Future Avionics Capability Environment (FACE) conformance. ARINC 653 is the standard that allows hosting of multiple applications on a single processor.
Northrop Grumman is founding member of the FACE consortium that was created “to establish standards for a common operating environment to support software portability and interoperability across avionics systems,” the company noted.
Song said that it is hoped that the Army will make a decision on the new UH-60L modernized, digital cockpit early next year.
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