July 09, 2012
The vision of future cockpits for military trainers will be unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow by Esterline CMC Electronics with its Cockpit 4000 NextGen technology demonstrator.
While not an actual cockpit, it encompasses the features CMC believes will be needed to train pilots to fly fifth-generation fighters. It also advances the arts of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for light attack aircraft.
Where this could lead can be seen in CMC’s current integrated Cockpit 4000 applications. It is on the Hawker Beechcraft T-6B/C and its AT-6 attack derivative, the Korean KT-1C turboprop trainer and the enhanced KT-1T for Turkey, and the BAE Hawk Mk 51 and Mk 66. The first three Mk 66s were handed over to the Finnish Air Force last November.
CMC Electronics is building its presence in the trainer market with further integration, new technology and features such as simulated weapons training that can help an air force reduce costs by training on the trainer instead of the fighter, says company president Greg Yeldon. “A virtual training capability is a much more efficient way to train,” he says, “and with Cockpit 4000NG we’ve introduced a lot more capability.”
The Cockpit 4000NG on display features an open-architecture mission computer, a single 7x20-in. touch screen that can be configured into as many as four dedicated 4x7- in. displays, and a new Sparrow- Hawk head-up display (HUD).
The new SparrowHawk replaces the cathode ray tube with a digital light engine, which not only improves intensity and allows the display of video and enhanced vision, but also improves reliability and reduces life-cycle costs.
“We did this for reasons of life-cycle cost, and the HUD could retrofit most of the platforms we have,” says Yeldon. Right now the new SparrowHawk is just a prototype, “but we’ve already had some interest.”