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Raytheon to design smart multifunction color displays for Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters

McCLELLAN, Calif., 1 Nov. 2012. Avionics designers at Raytheon Technical Services Co. in Dulles, Va., will produce 62 smart multifunction color display (SMFCD) systems for U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters under terms of a proposed $17.2 million contract from the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) in McClellan, Calif.

DMEA will award the avionics display contract on behalf of U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. The the smart displays will consolidate all the helicopter's survivability information, blue force tracking, and some time-sensitive threat information onto one display.

Although Marine Corps CH-53 crews have all this information today, they must view it in several different places in the cockpit. Marine Corps leaders are attempting to reduce the number of lost aircraft and personnel due to poor situational awareness during flights in Afghanistan and Iraq, officials say.

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DMEA officials announced the upcoming contract this week in a justification-and-approval notice (H94003-04-R-CET-12-228) entitled CH-53E Phase II Smart Multifunction Color Display.

The CH-53E Super Stallion, made by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, Conn., is a three-engine heavy-lift helicopter typically used to transport Marine Corps infantrymen and equipment from landing ships offshore to invasion beaches. Marines also use the aircraft for general-purpose heavy-lift helicopter operations.

DMEA officials say the lot of 62 smart displays that Raytheon will produce will bridge the gap from system development completion until a full production contract is established.

Raytheon engineers will modify their company's existing SMFCD system to meet the updated requirements, integrate a prototype SMFCD system into a CH-53E helicopter, perform qualification and aircraft flight testing, as well as build and install prototype displays.

The contract is part of a Marine Corps requirement to deploy 60 of the integrated SMFCDs on a rotational basis linked to squadron deployment. Two additional units will be integrated into trainer systems. Raytheon should be able to test the first updated smart display within five or six months, DMEA officials say.

At first, Raytheon should be able to produce four smart displays a month, ramping to a steady state of eight units until the limited production run is finished. Raytheon also has designed smart multifunction color avionics displays for the F-16 jet fighter and the A-10 ground-support attack aircraft.

DMEA officials say they are awarding the contract on a sole-source basis to Raytheon because opening the contract to competition would be expensive and time-consuming.

More information about the upcoming contract is online at

For additional information contact the DMEA online at, Naval Air Systems Command at, or Raytheon Technical Services at

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