Northrop Grumman to upgrade and support avionics for US Marine Corps AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters

RIGDECREST, California – US Navy Helicopter avionics experts ask Northrop Grumman Corp. to upgrade and support the H-1 integrated avionics systems for the US Marine Corps AH-1Z Super Cobra and UH-1Y Super Huey attack and utility helicopters to improve performance, commonality, reliability, and maintainability.

Officials from the weapons division of the Naval Air Warfare Center at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in Ridgecrest, Calif., Friday announced a $337.9 million five-year contract for the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Woodland Hills, Calif., for H-1 avionics research and development.

The H-1 Upgrade Program replaces the obsolete AH-1W and UH-1N helicopters with upgraded AH-1Z Super Cobra and UH-1Y Super Huey attack and rescue helicopters to improve commonality, reliability and maintainability.

Northrop Grumman will develop and test H-1 integrated avionics systems, identify maintenance options, upgrade test and measurement equipment for H-1 avionics, and will investigate new capabilities and anomalies related to H-1 avionics and weapons.

Related: Civil and Military Aircraft Get Avionics Upgrades

Northrop Grumman manufactures, upgrades and supports the Gen III mission computers that are the heart of the company’s Integrated Avionics System (IAS) that powers the glass cockpit avionics of the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters. Dual mission computers provide centralized control over the IAS and display situation awareness and health monitoring information.

The Northrop Grumman conduction-cooled Gen III Technical Refresh mission computer includes a rugged 6U VME PowerPC-based single board computer. Interfaces include Fast Ethernet, four serial ports, parallel I/O and built-in test. FlightPro has a standard partitioned real-time operating system called INTEGRITY-178 tuMP for multicore architectures from Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, California, with ARINC 653 and POSIX support.

The IAS and mission computers are suitable for future system upgrades; rapid adoption of new technologies; and integration of other electronic, communication and survival equipment. Northrop Grumman also provides the operational flight program software that controls the IAS.

The mission computer’s standard configuration also includes a quad channel 1553 mezzanine card, high-speed serial card, eight-channel digital I/O module with opto-coupled discrete inputs, eight channels with opto-coupled discrete outputs, and 16 channels of common target bi-directional discretes that can be individually programmed as outputs or inputs.

Related: Elbit Systems Wins $110 Million To Upgrade M-17 Military Helicopter Electronics

The FlightPro mission computer is capable of Required Navigation Performance/Area Navigation (RNP/RNAV) in all flight regimes, including departure, en route, terminal and non-precision approach with GPS as the sole navigation source.

The flight computers use 28 volt DC or 115 volt AC three-phase 400 Hz input power, measure 13.61 by 11.5 by 7.55 inches and weigh 30.4 pounds. The computers rated an average time between failures of 3,200 hours.

The flight computer software is RTCA DO-178C compliant, has ARINC-653 partitioning for safety and security, and conforms to the Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) standard. The software is aligned with Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) technical standard, has developed hardware independent application software according to MIL-STD-498, under MIL-STD-882C safety program environmental qualification.

Under this contract, Northrop Grumman will do the work in Woodland Hills, California, and other locations in the US, and should be completed by June 2027. For more information, contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at www.northropgrumman.comof Naval Air Systems Command on

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