Air Force to upgrade HH-60G search-and-rescue helicopters with Esterline CMC avionics

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., 24 Oct. 2016. U.S. Air Force helicopter avionics experts needed replacement control display units (CDUs) for the Air Force fleet of Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search-and-rescue helicopter fleet. They found their solution from Esterline CMC Electronics Inc. in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.

Oct 24th, 2016
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ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., 24 Oct. 2016. U.S. Air Force helicopter avionics experts needed replacement control display units (CDUs) for the Air Force fleet of Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search-and-rescue helicopter fleet. They found their solution from Esterline CMC Electronics Inc. in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.

Officials of the Air Force Materiel Command at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., announced a $7.1 million sole-source contract for integration and production of the CDU replacement for the HH-60G helicopter. The project will replace the legacy CMA-882 CDU aboard the Pave Hawk helicopters with the modern Esterline CMC Electronics CMA-2082MC CDU.

The Air Force awarded the contract to Canadian Commercial Corp. (CCC) in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, which acts as Canada’s international contracting and procurement agency. CCC is working with Esterline CMS Electronics as primary subcontractor for the HH-60G CDU replacement project.

The Esterline CMC Electronics CMA-2082M combines CDU and flight-management system in one box to save weight and space aboard the aircraft. It has a 3-by-5-inch display, alpha-numeric key panel, interfaces and spare card slots. This system also is involved with Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter cockpit avionics upgrades.

The CMA-2082M is an intelligent, self-contained multifunction control and display unit that integrates and provides centralized control of navigation sensors and radios, communications radios, displays, mission avionics, and aircraft systems, Esterline CMC officials say. The system is based on the CMA-2082A CDU and offers processing through a PowerPC processor and an Ethernet interface.

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Esterline CMC Electronics, working together with Canadian Commercial Corp., will build, test, and deliver 42 non-developmental CDUs with the same form, fit, and function of the existing CDU being used on the HH-60G helicopter, including the software functionality of the current HH-60G CDU, Air Force officials say.

The contract has options that could increase the number of Pave Hawk CDUs the Air Force will order to as many as 275. The legacy CMA-882 CDU is no longer in production and is not procurable. The CMA-2082MC CDUs will be loaded with HH-60G CDU flight software and incorporate any wiring necessary to interface with existing aircraft-side CDU connectors.

There is non-recurring engineering (NRE) necessary to re-host the HH-60G CDU flight software from the CMA-882 CDU to the CMA-2082MC CDU, Air Force officials explain. This includes testing of the re-hosted flight software in the laboratory and aboard Pave Hawk helicopters.

The HH-60G has been in service since the early 1980s and the CDU replacements are part of a broader cockpit avionics upgrade effort that is transforming the helicopter's mechanical gauges to a modern glass cockpit configuration.

The primary mission of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night personnel recovery operations into hostile territory to recover isolated personnel during war. The helicopter also performs civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation, aviation advisory, NASA space flight support, and rescue command and control.

Related: U.S. Air Force to equip combat rescue helicopters with BAE Systems missile warning, IFF systems

The Pave Hawk is a modified version of the U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with an upgraded communications and navigation that includes integrated inertial navigation, global positioning, and Doppler navigation systems; satellite communications; secure voice; and Have Quick digital radio communications.

HH-60Gs have an automatic flight-control system, night vision goggles with lighting, and forward looking infrared (FLIR) system that enhances nighttime low-level operations. Pave Hawks also have color weather radar and an engine and rotor blade anti-ice system that enables the HH-60G to fly in bad weather.

Pave Hawk helicopters have retractable in-flight refueling probes, internal auxiliary fuel tanks, two crew-served 7.62-millimeter or .50 caliber machine guns, and an 8,000-pound-capacity cargo hook.

Pave Hawk combat systems include a radar warning receiver, infrared jammer, and flare-and-chaff countermeasures. It has a personnel locating system that is compatible with the PRC-112 survival radio and provides range and bearing information to a survivor's location.

On this contract Esterline CMC Electronics will do the work in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and should be finished by November 2018. For more information contact Esterline CMC Electronics online at www.esterline.com, Canadian Commercial Corp. at www.ccc.ca, or the Air Force Materiel Command at www.afmc.af.mil.

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