Upgraded H-1 Helicopters deployed
Northrop Grumman has announced that its Integrated Avionics System has played a key role in preparing the AH-1Z helicopter for its first operational deployment, marking the initial opportunity for the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters to deploy as a team. Northrop Grumman made the announcement in a 17 November 2011 company statement.
The statement said the AH-1Z and its sister aircraft, the UH-1Y, are deployed aboard the USS Makin Island with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The helicopters function as a detachment of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367), which provided four AH-1Z and three UH-1Y helicopters.
The US Marine Corps has now merged these upgraded aircraft into a single light helicopter attack squadron or a detachment of the larger group. Northrop Grumman says, ‘The dual deployment takes advantage of the 84 percent commonality of parts between the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters in the H-1 upgrade program, which reduces life cycle and training costs and decreases the logistics footprint for both aircraft’. The upgraded helicopters also have 100 percent software commonality through Northrop Grumman's Integrated Avionics System (IAS) and the same operational flight program.
According to Northrop Grumman, the IAS powers the helicopters' glass cockpits. It features two mission computers with an open, modular architecture that allows for easy system upgrades and rapid insertion of new technologies. The IAS also improves the air crew's situational awareness and weapons accuracy by providing critical mission data on four displays.
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