The Israeli air force has begun testing a new altitude hold and hovering stabilisation system developed for its Sikorsky CH-53 assault helicopters using a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.

Trials were launched recently by the air force's flight-test centre using a Black Hawk which has been modified with navigation systems from a Boeing AH-64 Apache. The service has said its utility helicopters require a navigation system upgrade before receiving the new safety enhancement.

Developed jointly by the Israeli air force and Finmeccanica subsidiary DRS, and currently being installed on the former's CH-53s, the new computer system receives inputs about altitude, ground speed and acceleration from its host aircraft's flight control system.

Once engaged, the altitude hold and hovering stabilisation system enables the aircraft to automatically hold station within a virtual "box" measuring 1m². This allows precise hovering at an altitude as low as 10ft (3m), before a pilot can disengage the system and takes manual control before landing.

Israeli air force UH-60,

 © Yuvalr/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Flight International