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  • Heavylift Helo Makeovers
    Posted by Graham Warwick 4:07 PM on Jan 25, 2011

    The first Royal Air Force Chinook with new Thales TopDeck glass cockpit is in flight tests at RAF Odiham, with the first HC2s upgraded to the new HC4 standard scheduled to re-enter service by year-end.

    blog post photo
    Photo: Boeing

    Project Julius is upgrading 38 Chinook HC2/2As to HC4/4A standard and eight Chinook HC3s to HC5s. (The HC3s having been "reverted" to HC2/2A standard after the avionics software could not be certified.) The Mk2s are to be retrofitted by early 2015, with the 2As and 3s to be upgraded by the end of 2016.

    The new cockpit features four multifunction displays, two standby flight displays, updated comms interfaces and new air-data computers. Boeing Defence UK is prime, with Vector Aerospace doing the mods. Crucially, after what happened with the HC3s, Project Julius includes an update to the airworthiness certification.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, Navair is flight testing the first U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E to undergo a cockpit and avionics upgrade. The retrofit installs the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit - similar to that in the CH-47F, UH-60M and in-development CH-53K.

    blog post photo
    Photo: Navair

    The upgrade introduces Mode S transponder and other capabilities required for civil-airspace CNS/ATM compliance, plus Mode 5 IFF, integrated Blue Force Tracker, moving map, brownout hover cueing, and engine indicating and crew alerting system.

    Tags: ar99, helicopter

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