Howell Instruments (Booth No. 214) is showing a working mockup of an instrument panel upgrade it is preparing to bring to older U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawks. The Fort Worth, Texas company plans to offer a kit priced at $300,000 that will provide a form-and-fit replacement of existing electromechanical instrumentation with flat-panel multifunction display (MFD) and digital databus capabilities.
John Wright, Howell Instruments customer support manager, said the decision on whether to deliver the kits for customer installation or to offer the service has yet to be determined. He added that his company has identified approximately 2,000 UH-60 and civil S-70 helicopters that could be candidates for the panel upgrade.
Brian Byrne, program manager for the Army contract, said the Howell UH-60 effort is unique in that it does not require extensive changes in cockpit configuration. Howell is teaming with Symbolic Displays of Santa Ana, Calif., to develop MFD indicators sized to fit existing UH-60 panel space with a minimum of alterations. The upgrade also includes replacement of analog instrument wiring with a “digital mini-bus” providing an air-data computer interface and provision for inputs from a variety of engine condition, mission and navigation sensors.
Wright noted that the UH-60 project is an extension of the range of instrumentation programs Howell Instruments has been conducting for many years using smaller displays, “But here we’re presenting the information in a bigger window, a four- by seven-inch piece of glass,” he said.