9-Jan-2017 Source: Sikorsky
The aircraft design upgrade replaces the factory analog gauges with electronic instrument flat panel displays and offers greater situational awareness, reduced pilot workload, and improved mission safety.
Experienced Black Hawk pilots Terence Reeves and Travis Hack flew the helicopter from Dallas Meacham field for a 45 minute flight, performing normal operations for the newly installed systems and digital avionics upgrade aboard the Sikorsky UH-60A aircraft.
By being first to fly a Sikorsky Black Hawk digital cockpit modernization, Rogerson KRATOS can now offer operators a common training environment and easier pilot transition. The modernized cockpit upgrade replicates the UH-60M pilot vehicle interface for training and interoperability.
The current Sikorsky Black Hawk legacy aircraft high repair costs for the legacy analog instruments, together with the lower reliability found on prior models, now has a solution. Replacing obsolete and limited warfighter mission capabilities with a digital cockpit system is cost effective and also meets future Blackhawk mission requirements.
There are over 2000 analog cockpit Black Hawks and variants currently flying, including in all five US Military services, and over twenty-five foreign countries. Rogerson KRATOS twenty-five years of open architecture systems helicopter flight display platform experience includes Bell 412, 412EPI, 427, 429, 430, Agusta 109, AB412, and Sikorsky S-61, S-76.
”This first flight will prove an important day for all Black Hawk model A & L operators to now be able to extend the life and mission of the aircraft,” said company CEO, Michael Rogerson. ”Our many years and flight hours of avionics twin engined helicopter program experience includes a significant number of important industry firsts, such as certifying the industry’s first flat panel primary flight display EFIS and EICAS in a helicopter, and this Black Hawk application is the culmination of all that experience.”
“Today’s first flight of the modernized cockpit UH-60A Black Hawk is an important milestone for the talented team that made this event happen, from concept to first flight in only fourteen months.” added Mike Miller, VP for Rogerson KRATOS Military Programs. “The fact that this team and their suppliers were able to achieve first flight before any other industry competitors with a next generation solution is a testament to their dedication and skills to provide operators with today’s most advanced Black Hawk digital cockpit.”
There are four Black Hawks in the Rogerson KRATOS digital cockpit modernization development program. Work on delivering customer cockpit upgrades will begin in 2017, and can eventually increase to three per month by 2020.
Aircraft #1 N683DN at Dallas Meacham, a UH-60 model, is the test vehicle for all aircraft avionic glass cockpit features such as EFIS and EICAS. During the extensive testing, it will also be used for DAS and DVE development.
Aircraft #2 N684DN is slated for FAA Type certifications. Currently this UH-60A, is being conformed for a Type Certificate at another facility and will be DO 160, DO 254, and DO 178 compliant.
Aircraft #3 N685DN will be configured as a medevac at a third facility with other options. It also will be updated with a FAA Type Certificate.
Aircraft #4 N686DN will add customer choice optional equipment such as communications, navigational, and military options.
The Rogerson KRATOS Black Hawk cockpit modernization program comes with growth potential improvements that will allow the aircraft to remain state-of-the-art for years to come. Features such as Degraded Visibility Environment Mitigation (DVEM) and a Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for 360 degree spherical situational awareness will be backward compatible.
The system is fully compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency’s 2020 Global Air Traffic Management requirements, allowing the aircraft access to military and civilian airspace of the United States and Europe.
Operating through a wide temperature environment, possessing superior optical performance and designed with an extra wide range viewing angle for cross cockpit viewing, these Rogerson KRATOS “smart” multi-function displays are fully compliant with the latest night vision imaging system standards and other critical information and navigation requirements. Features include 3D digital map, advanced hover symbology, integrated FLIR, and embedded maintenance pages to configure optional equipment and monitor sensors.