Elbit Systems has started the series conversion of the Romanian air force's IAR Pumas into the Socat combat helicopter configuration.

The Israeli company and IAR have been flying prototype conversions for a number of years. New avionics installed by Elbit include a digital moving map, multifunction and helmet mounted displays, a combined inertial/satellite navigation system, an electro-optical observation and targeting system and an electronic warfare suite. As part of the conversion, a single multi-purpose computer has replaced seven older systems.

The Socat Puma is armed with the Rafael NT-D anti-tank missile and a 20mm turreted gun. Meanwhile, Elbit has been selected by Sikorsky as the sole source for the weapon control system for its proposed armed UH-60 Black Hawk. Bell is also negotiating with the Israeli company about its participation in the planned upgrade of US-surplus AH-1S Cobras.

Elbit is also in the advanced stages of developing a sophisticated attack helicopter command and control system that will enable the secure transfer of commands and data between helicopters and to other air and ground forces.

Elbit says the system is classified but has been developed using Israeli air force combat helicopter operating experience.

The company says the new system will be installed in the helicopter cockpit and be used to control and monitor the transfer and receipt of secure data packages.

Yair Ganor, senior director Elbit helicopter upgrades, says the system will initially be fitted to Israeli Boeing AH-64A Apache and AH-1s, although it will be adapted for other platforms.

Elbit produces several helicopter systems, including moving map displays, and its VSI joint venture with Kaiser Aerospace is supplying helmet sightings and display systems to the US Army and Israeli air force.

Source: Flight International