As the supplier of the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter, Northrop Grumman has delivered software for the helicopter to enter Limited User Testing. (NOC Photo)
Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered software to the U.S. Army for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter to enter limited user testing (LUT) ― a critical milestone leading into production.
Under a contract awarded in 2014, Northrop is partnered with the Army Prototype Integration Facility and prime contractor Redstone Defense Systems to modernize the Army’s fleet of UH-60L helicopters by replacing older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays.
Northrop Grumman is supplying the integrated avionics suite for the upgraded aircraft, designated the UH-60V, which features the Army’s most advanced Black Hawk avionics systems.
Through this latest milestone, Northrop Grumman has provided a digital cockpit software build that includes all the functionality required for LUT, which will evaluate the system’s operational readiness, capabilities and compatibility with the UH-60M pilot-vehicle interface (PVI). The test will directly inform the Milestone C decision on whether to enter low rate initial production (LRIP) in 2019.
“This software delivery milestone is an important step forward in our journey to provide cutting-edge capabilities and mission-enabling solutions to warfighters through an affordable, low-risk digital cockpit upgrade,” said Ed Griebel, director of land & avionics C4ISR division at Northrop Grumman. “Our mission solution preserves investment in the Black Hawk fleet while modernizing the aircraft to provide warfighters with a decisive advantage.”
Northrop’s mission equipment package is designed to be scalable, fully integrated and enable enhanced pilot situational awareness and mission safety, as well as decreased pilot workload and life cycle cost, according to the company. The UH-60V PVI is nearly identical to the same system in the UH‑60M, so pilots are familiar with the system and will have an identical training and operational experience.
Northrop Grumman designed the system with an open architecture approach that can be upgraded by third parties without involvement by the original equipment manufacturer.
In addition to the UH-60V, the scalable and fully integrated architecture is compatible with other platforms such as the E-2D Hawkeye, Bell AH-1F/S Cobra and other aircraft.
“The operators of these aircraft can reduce their logistics footprint by having common avionics in multiple platforms and avoid sustaining large component inventories,” Northrop said.
The UH-60V meets the standards for safety-critical software development and is designed to comply with the FAA and EASA’s global air traffic management requirements, enabling the system to traverse military and civilian airspace worldwide.