Rockwell Collins is looking for a launch customer for its Helisure retrofit digital cockpit with four different helicopter types up for consideration.

Based on the glass flightdeck installed in the latest variant of the Avic AC312 – a Chinese-built version of the Airbus Helicopters AS365 Dauphin – Helisure incorporates a number of safety features including synthetic vision, alongside terrain awareness warning and aircraft collision avoidance systems.

Due for civil certification by year-end, Helisure is being pitched at operators of the SA330 Puma and AS332 Puma, as well as the Mil Mi-8/-17 and Bell 412, says Phillipe Memery, marketing director of airborne systems at Rockwell Collins.

The retrofit cockpit, displayed on its stand at the Helitech show in Amsterdam, will help address rising maintenance costs and obsolescence issues for those types, he says, as well as enhancing safety in all weather conditions.

“We are in the market testing phase,” he says. “We are bringing that solution to the market to gauge the prospects and have discussions with selected potential customers.”

Memery says it has taken the hardware from the Chinese programme and added the additional functionality and a similar terrain database to that developed for AgustaWestland digital flightdecks.

Meanwhile, the avionics firm is also in discussions with undisclosed potential customers – “both OEMS and others” – over a launch application for its developmental voice control system.

Activated by a toggle switch on the cyclic, the system allows a pilot to call up maps or other data, or even activate the autopilot simply by speaking into their headset.

Currently at technology readiness level 7, the system could be rolled out in around three years, says senior system engineer Guillaume Zini.

It will help reduce pilot workload, he says, and the company has already received positive feedback from crews following extensive demonstration flights held earlier this year in Toulouse.

“When we did a survey we found that more than 75% of pilots expected these kind of features in next-generation cockpits,” says Zini.