UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters

UH-60V Black HawkThe backbone of the US Army's transport helicopter fleet, the venerable UH-60 Black Hawk is finally set to receive a major avionics upgrade.

The most current Black Hawk, the UH-60M, boasts a fully glass cockpit, complete with a modern avionics suite, while there are still a large portion of older UH-60Ls that maintain analog instruments. This makes life particularly difficult on Black Hawk pilots, who are forced to learn how to operate both versions of the medium-lift chopper.

The upgrade, which will rechristen some 700 to 900 Black Hawks as UH-60V model, will virtually mirror the cockpit work done on the UH-60Ms, allowing an easy transition for UH-60M pilots. Northrop Grumman will conduct the upgrade, and is promising that the new systems are smaller, lighter and more efficient than the analog instruments they replace, all while minimizing the chopper's total life cycle cost.

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Northrop Grumman Selected to Modernize Black Hawk Cockpit for US Army

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – Aug. 15, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected by Redstone Defense Systems to supply and integrate mission avionics equipment for a digital cockpit upgrade of the U.S. Army's UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters.

Northrop Grumman will provide a scalable, fully integrated mission equipment package for the UH‑60L cockpit and will replace the older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays. The new designation for this upgraded aircraft will be UH-60V. The system virtually replicates the newer UH‑60M pilot-vehicle interface, providing a common training environment.

Northrop Grumman's design solution has already been demonstrated through a flight test on a UH-60L helicopter. The system features a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program with an integrated architecture that enables new capabilities through software-only solutions rather than hardware additions. The architecture maximizes the UH-60L platform performance and reliability while minimizing total life cycle cost. The system is also smaller in size, lower in weight and requires less power than legacy processing systems.

"We are committed to this critical upgrade program that will prolong the life of the UH-60 while keeping warfighters safer by enhancing their situational awareness," said Ike Song, vice president, Situational Awareness Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. "Our integrated mission avionics solution is built on mature, proven technology and an open architecture approach for superior performance, affordability, growth potential and reliability."

The next generation avionics system is aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) standard and supports integration of off-the-shelf software and hardware, enabling rapid insertion of capabilities while reducing cost and risk for system integration and upgrades. Northrop Grumman is providing full, unlimited government purpose rights to technical data and software, providing the customer with unprecedented flexibility while eliminating vendor lock and mitigating obsolescence issues.

An estimated 700 to 900 aircraft are expected to be modified under the UH‑60V digital cockpit upgrade, which represents the first fully integrated avionics system for Army utility aircraft.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.