ASHBURN, Va. – Avionics designers at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, Conn., needed an air data computer and windshield anti-ice controller for several variants of the U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. They found their solution from the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Defense Solutions Division in Ashburn, Va.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has awarded a contract to Curtiss-Wright to provide the Curtiss-Wright air data computer (ADC) and windshield anti-ice controller (WAIC) technology for variants of the Black Hawk helicopter delivered to the U.S. Army and foreign military sales customers.
Aircraft use air data computers to provide airspeed and altitude parameters for safe and efficient operation. Helicopters like the Black Hawk can experience changes in their airspeed and altitude measurements when rotor downwash affects the accuracy of pressure measurements. As a result, helicopter fleets often consist of different aircraft that can create additional logistics overheads.
The Curtiss-Wright air data computers seek to alleviate the effects of rotor downwash with digital filtering that reduces the pneumatic noise in air pressure without adding weight like mechanical solutions. This enables engineers to several different kinds of helicopters with identical air data computers, as long as the computer can hold several sets of configuration data to match the host aircraft.
Curtiss Wright manufactures the Enhanced Software Configurable Air Data Unit (ESCADU) that can hold as many as 15 different aircraft configurations; the Air Data Computer Module (ADCM) that relies on low-drift sensors, and the Computer Controlled Air Data Test Set (CCADTS-2) that calibrates cockpit instruments in situ.
Windshield anti-ice controllers uses sensors to detect icing conditions and relays ice-detection information to the helicopter flight crew. Pilots then can use electrical heating elements of de-icing chemicals to prevent ice buildup on the aircraft's windshield.
Curtiss-Wright is manufacturing the air data computers covered by this agreement at its facility in Bournemouth, England, and the windshield anti-ice controller in Santa Clarita, Calif.
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