Northrop Grumman to provide mission computers for Marine Corps AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopter avionics

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 14 Sept. 2016. Military avionics designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. will provide mission computers for new U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopter avionics under terms of an $18.3 million order announced Friday.

Navy asks Bell to build 29 new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and avionics for Marine Corps
Navy asks Bell to build 29 new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and avionics for Marine Corps
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 14 Sept. 2016. Military avionics designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. will provide mission computers for new U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopter avionics under terms of an $18.3 million order announced Friday.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Woodland Hills, Calif., for tech refresh mission computers and trays in support of Lot 13 AH-1Z Super Cobra and UH-1Y Super Huey attack and utility helicopters.

The mission computer purchases are for the U.S. Navy and the government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales program. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters are in full production by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Northrop Grumman Gen III mission computers 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.

The Northrop Grumman conduction-cooled Gen III Technical Refresh mission computer incorporates a ruggedized 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, Calif., with ARINC 653 and POSIX support.

Related: Flight mission computers for Marine Corps UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters to come from Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman is providing identical Gen II mission computers for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft that make up the Marine light attack helicopter squadrons to help save money and simplify logistics.

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

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 using 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 have rated 3,200 hours mean time between failures.

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

Related: Bell Helicopter prepares to build 25 new UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters for U.S. Marine Corps

Flight computer hardware is designed to MIL-STD-461D for electro-magnetic compatibility, and is tested to MIL-STD-462 and MIL-STD 810E. FlightPro is conduction cooled, and represents “Quiet Cockpit Technology,” Northrop Grumman officials say.

Dual mission computers are the heart of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Avionics System (IAS) that powers the glass cockpits of the Super Cobra and Super Huey helicopters, Northrop Grumman officials explain. The mission computers provide centralized control of the IAS and display situational awareness and health monitoring information.

Additionally, the IAS and mission computers can accommodate future system upgrades; rapid insertion of new technologies; and integration of other avionics, communications, and survivability equipment. Northrop Grumman also provides the operational flight program software that controls the IAS.

The H-1 Upgrade program is replacing aging AH-1W and UH-1N helicopters with upgraded UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft to enhance commonality, reliability, and maintainability. The upgraded helicopters have 100 percent software commonality through Northrop Grumman's IAS and the same operational flight program.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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