Northrop Grumman equips Firebird optionally piloted aircraft with Garmin integrated flight deck

Northrop Grumman Firebird OPV

OLATHE, Kan., 20 Nov. 2012. Officials at Northrop Grumman Corp. have selected Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), to supply the avionics suite for the company’s new Firebird optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The Northrop Grumman Firebird is being equipped with Garmin’s latest touch-screen-controlled integrated flight deck system that has been tailored for the military avionics application. Garmin’s commercial avionics technology is scalable and expandable, enabling the delivery of a highly capable commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution.

“Commercial avionics are an increasingly compelling option for government and military aircraft because they offer excellent features with significant time and cost savings,” explains Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “Garmin has a proven track record developing and certifying some of the most sophisticated and remarkably capable avionics available for commercial use, and Northrop Grumman was able to draw upon that expertise to integrate the avionics with their special missions systems.”

The Firebird cockpit is equipped with three 14-inch, high-definition, widescreen displays, effectively doubling the number of different presentations—such as primary flight information, sensor data, moving maps, charts, engine indications, and other important flight information--that the crew can control and view simultaneously.

The cockpit also boasts two touch-screen display/controllers that provide a centralized and intuitive interface to the system and allow for the control of external missions systems.

For enhanced situational awareness and hazard avoidance, the Firebird is equipped with Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), which provides a 3D depiction of terrain, obstacles, traffic, and the runway environment on the flight displays. Garmin’s GWX 70 Doppler-capable weather radar and Garmin’s GTS 850 Traffic and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS I) also help to provide the best possible picture of the operational environment.

The triple widescreen displays, dual touch-screen display/controllers, and flight management systems are also used in the ground control station used to fly the aircraft when it is operated as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Firebird, a hybrid between a conventional aircraft and a UAV, offers the flexibility to perform ISR missions based on the demands of the mission environment and whether manned or unmanned flight is optimal. The Firebird can support multiple types of ISR and communications sensor payloads simultaneously during flight, including high-definition full-motion video, infrared, radar, and different types of electronic communications.

The Firebird made its first flight in Nov. 2012.



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