AVIONICS: Pilatus chooses 3U VPX avionics mission computer for PC-21 turboprop trainer aircraft

Avionics designers at Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. in Stans, Switzerland, needed open-architecture mission computer subsystems for the avionics suite of the Pilatus PC-21 high-performance turboprop military trainer aircraft. They found their solution at Curtiss-Wright Controls in Charlotte, N.C.

Pilatus awarded a follow-on contract for Curtiss-Wright to provide the rugged MPMC-9350 embedded computing subsystem under terms of an $11 million contract. Shipments began last October and will continue through August 2014.

The Curtiss-Wright MPMC-9350 from Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions in Ashburn, Va., provides processing for the PC-21 pilot and co-pilot multi-function display symbology and mapping, as well as radar simulation.

The MPMC-9350 is a rugged 3U VPX avionics computer based on CompactPCI cards. The avionics computer has a five-slot forced-air enclosure that isolates its circuit cards from humidity, dust, sand, and other environmental contaminants.

The Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainer provides an unmatched level of advanced technology, configuration flexibility, and life-cycle cost savings. With an intelligent avionics system that can be modified to suit the student pilot's phase of training, the PC-21 is significantly less costly than jet aircraft training alternatives.

The single-engine turboprop aircraft intended for primary training of future jet fighter pilots is a low-wing swept monoplane advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit. The PC-21 has a glass cockpit with three large color liquid crystal displays (LCDs), head-up displays (HUDs), hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) controls and zero-zero ejection seats for student and instructor.

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