has won a contract to upgrade 700-900 U.S. Army Black Hawk utility helicopters, beating out teams including , and .
The upgrade with give the older UH-60Ls a glass cockpit with electronic displays replicating those of the in-production UH-60M. Upgraded Black Hawks will be designated UH-60Vs.
The contract is a major win for Northrop Grumman, which has been aggressively pursuing an open-systems approach to avionics, building on its experience with the mission computer for the U.S.’ and helicopters.
The company says its avionics system for the UH-60L is aligned with the Pentagon-led Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), a set of standards enabling software portability and reuse. This will support rapid insertion of off-the-shelf hardware and software, Northrop says.
The system features a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program that enables capabilities to be added as software-only modifications, reducing the cost and time required to upgrade the helicopter.
In a departure from most procurements, Northrop says it is providing full, unlimited government-purpose rights to technical data and software, allowing the Army to compete future upgrades and integrate third-party software into the system.