Company offers advanced display suite to meet British Army and Royal Navy needs

Westland is proposing a further evaluation of the glass cockpit developed for the Super Lynx 300 helicopter for the British Army and Royal Navy's future Lynx fleets.

The UK helicopter manufacturer has an assessment phase contract awarded in July last year for the army's Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH) and RN's Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft (SCMR) requirements.

BLUH and SCMR will be UK variants of the Super Lynx 300, but will reuse components from army Lynx AH7s and navy HMA8s.

The programmes are due to receive final go-ahead in December this year, says Jim Sinclair, AgustaWestland regional business manager (UK). BLUH in-service date is targeted at April 2007; SCMR is due to enter service in April 2008.

Sinclair says that as part of the assessment phase, Westland is reducing programme risk and working to ensure good value for money, demanded by the Ministry of Defence as BLUH and SCMR are not traditional competition-based procurements. To ensure that it is meeting the MoD's requirements, the company submitted a mid-term review, which was passed last month, says Sinclair.

Westland proposes a glass cockpit to replace the Super Lynx's four 160 x 160mm (6.25 x 6.25in) displays with larger 200 x 250mm units. This eliminates two smaller engine displays in the middle of the Super Lynx's instrument panel. The change reflects an army need for four screens and the navy's desire for the largest possible displays.

Another BLUH/SCMR requirement is an increased all-up weight at service entry of 5,790kg (12,750lb), but with the capability for this to grow through life to 6,250kg without needing a structural improvement programme.

As a result, Westland is redesigning the nose and tail, replacing fabricated components with machined items. The tailrotor will provide greater control authority and will also be new, "derived from" an Agusta system, says Sinclair.

Westland is also running competitions for elements of the avionics and mission system. This is required by the MoD as part of ensuring value for money.

A downselection of companies bidding to provide the tactical processor - the heart of the system - is due this month. Companies will be required to provide specimen equipment for integration risk reduction before programme final approval.

Source: Flight International