Military

US Army Orders 250 Touchscreen Displays to Upgrade UH-60 Avionics

By Dan Parsons | July 31, 2018
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A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew assigned to Task Force Griffin, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division prepares to land in Kunduz, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. The Griffins are working hard to support U.S. Forces Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support Mission.

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk crew prepares to land.

Under an ongoing $226 million contract, BAE Systems will install 250 touchscreen displays on U.S. Army UH-60A/L Black Hawk helicopters.

The recently awarded task order is for touchscreen computer display units (CDU) to upgrade the company’s ASN-128 Doppler GPS navigation systems already installed on Army Black Hawks. BAE has built the navigation systems for the Army since 1978.

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The self-contained, all-weather, day or night navigation system enables Black Hawk pilots to view real-time flight plan data. The initial order of 250 CDUs will be delivered in 2019 and 2020.

The task order was awarded to BAE under a current $226 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The Army plans to use the ASN-128 systems through 2035, and the upgrades promote safety by reducing pilot “heads-down” time spent looking inside the cockpit to control the aircraft.

“The full touchscreen with moving map capability will improve safety for pilots, assisting our customer’s mission success,” said Alan Dewar, director of communications and navigation solutions at BAE Systems.

The CDUs will be produced at BAE Systems’ facility in Wayne, New Jersey, with circuit card production in Austin, Texas. Additional CDU delivery orders may follow as part of the Army’s upgrade plan.

BAE Systems’ ASN-128 operates on more than 15,000 helicopters in 35 nations. Doppler navigation systems provide accurate, independent, jam-resistant navigation in both uncontested and hostile environments and in operational situations where interference with GPS is likely. The system automatically selects Doppler navigation in GPS-denied environments.

With the Black Hawk expected to fly into the 2030s, the Army and other agencies that fly the aircraft are in the market for avionics upgrades. Northrop Grumman and other contractors have developed digital glass cockpit suites for the UH-60M/L that are being tested to bring the aircraft to V-model configuration.

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.

Recognizing a lucrative market for H-60 cockpit upgrades, Genesys Aerosystems and XP Services are developing a new integrated cockpit avionics package for the UH-60 Black Hawk, featuring four electronic flight information system (EFIS) displays with synthetic vision and a host of other capabilities.

According to Genesys, the upgrade includes the company’s Open Architecture System Integration Symbology (OASIS) and a customized engine indication and crew alerting system for the Black Hawk.

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