By J.R. Wilson
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. — A $74 million upgrade to communications and navigation systems aboard the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet was completed in January on schedule and $2 million under budget, Navy officials say.
Leaders of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., say the upgrades significantly enhance the mission capability of more than 100 Hueys while significantly decreasing the pilots' workload.
The upgrade includes an ARC-210 radio from Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Doppler navigation system, control display navigation units with a digital data set, miniature airborne Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, and new tactical air navigation system. The helicopters also have new secure, voice-activated internal communications system.
The ARC-210 radio provides secure, digital over-the-horizon communications, while the GPS and the Doppler systems allow for independent navigation for over-the-horizon and over-water operations.
The ASQ-215 mission data loader enables pilots to use emerging technology to pre-plan missions, enter waypoints, and communications frequencies into a data transfer module. This eliminates the need to enter information by hand.
The aircrew can pre-plan and pre-brief several different missions, then rapidly load all required information into the Rockwell Collins 800 Cockpit Control System while preparing for launch.