The Thales TopDeckÂ®Â avionics suite to be installed in Sikorskyâ€™s new S-76Dâ„¢ helicopter will offer new â€œclick to flyâ€ ability based on a concept that has never been installed on a helicopter before: the Icube-S concept of Intuitivity, Interactivity, Integration and Safety. The S-76D helicopter is the newest model in the popular S-76Â®Â helicopter series manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
TopDeck is an integrated modular avionics suite in a glass cockpit derived from the latest technology.
â€œThe key to enhancing safety is to optimize the crewâ€™s cognitive workload, particularly during complex tasks,â€ said Yves Joannic, VP Helicopter Avionics activities of Thales Group. â€œTopDeck allows a pilot flying the S-76D helicopter to directly control cockpit tasks on his displays using an intuitive Cursor Control Device (iCCD). This iCCD â€“ the first of its kind on a helicopter â€“ puts all the functions at the pilotâ€™s fingertips, thus reducing workload, shortening reaction time and increasing safety.â€
The increased reliability and safety delivered in the Thales cockpit on the S-76D helicopter builds upon the well established safety and reliability record of the S-76 helicopter series. Several variations of the TopDeck avionics are currently flying onboard the AgustaWestland A109, Boeingâ€™s Chinook, and the ATR72 from the ATR consortium.
In addition to the advanced Thales integrated avionics system and autopilot, the S-76D helicopterâ€™s features include all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an industry leading external acoustic signature, health and usage monitoring system, active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines as standard equipment; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability.
â€œThroughout our test flight program, the S-76D helicopter prototypes have performed exceptionally well, with a smoothness and ease of flight that our customers have consistently expressed great excitement over,â€ said Dan Hunter, Sikorsky Global Helicopterâ€™s Director of Programs. â€œOur partnership with Thales on this element of the aircraftâ€™s development has been very successful in leveraging the inherent scalability of the TopDeck suite and further enhancing its functional content. As with all of our products, we expect to continue to add functionality as missions expand and the marketplace demands new capabilities.â€
Over the last several months, Sikorsky has offered customers an opportunity to fly the prototype S-76D aircraft. Greg Barnes, S-76D Chief Program Pilot, said those who have flown it cited the aircraftâ€™s power and performance, but also marveled at the automatic flight control system and interactivity. â€œThe S-76D will offer a multitude of new capabilities in an intuitive, interactive cockpit that is very user friendly. In essence, it is a comprehensive cockpit that is not complex to operate. These features will be especially valuable to operators flying in demanding offshore oil or emergency medical missions.â€
Delivery of the first aircraft to the launch customer is slated for 2012.
The new generation S-76D helicopter will perform an array of civil missions including executive transport, offshore oil, emergency medical services, and a multi-mission role.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
Thales is one of the leading global suppliers of avionic solutions for the commercial and military aerospace markets. The company offers a wide range of functions and onboard electronic equipment for fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. It provides its customers with all equipment, subsystems and systems in the areas of flight management, navigation, communication and surveillance.
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