Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced an $11.7 million contract modification to EFW, an Elbit Systems of America company, to provide helmet display tracker system (HDTS) kits for pilots of the AH-1W attack helicopter. The aircraft commonly is known as the Whiskey Cobra.
EFW will provide nine HDTS P-kits, 29 AH-1W Helmet kits, and installation of 54 HDTS under terms of the contract.
The magnetic HDTS helps reduce the AH-1W pilot's workload and improve crew coordination. The HDTS represents a relatively simple upgrade to the predecessor HUD on the Whiskey Cobra by adding a few components, EFW officials say.
The AH-1W's HDTS provides HUD symbology to enable the Whiskey Cobra's two pilots to know exactly where the other is looking. The system is designed to eliminate confusion in the cockpit; drive weapon systems and control the helicopter's electro-optical sensors, and offer hands-free operation.
The EFW HDTS can slave or slew weapons and sensors with the “big picture” rather than the “soda straw” view of a multifunction display, EFW officials say.
The system enables Whiskey Cobra pilots to know always where sensors and weapons are looking via symbology, designates fixed points on the ground via look-and-click capability, and uses components that the military already has in stock for other helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft such as CH-47 Chinook helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, F-22 Raptor jet fighter, and F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter.
Marine Corps aviation experts first tested the HDTS helmet mounted display system in late 2010 as a replacement for the legacy Helmet Sight Subsystem (HSS) and Gideon Aviators Night Vision Imaging System Head-Up Display (ANVIS HUD).
At the time, Marine Corps experts found the HDTS to improve system accuracy of the Whiskey Cobra's 20-millimeter gun Hellfire missiles, and 2.75 inch rockets, and enhanced human factors over the legacy HSS.
The HDTS capability to boresight the system in the aircraft increased convenience for pilots over the legacy system, and eliminated the obsolete rail linkage system to improve head mobility and increase aircrew safety. The HDTS symbol set also increased heads-up capability to improve situational awareness.
On this contract EFW will do the work in Fort Worth, Texas; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C., and should be finished in December.