Rotorcraft Update: Airbags ordered for Army Black Hawks

 - May 21, 2008, 10:10 AM

Phoenix-based Simula has been awarded a $11.1 million contract for 490 front and side cockpit airbag shipsets for U.S. Army UH-60A/L Black Hawk helicopters. Dubbed cockpit airbag systems (CABS), the shipsets consist of airbags sited in front of and beside cockpit aircrew, with the side-mounted bag attached to whichever fuselage wall is closer. An accelerometer triggers the system when it senses a crash. The Army contract follows a series of validation tests carried out by Simula after data showed that 80 percent of the Army’s helicopter crashes were potentially survivable. The 490 systems ordered will equip roughly one-third of the Army’s fleet of some 1,500 Black Hawks. While no hardware research into the transfer of this technology into the civil market has yet been conducted, this new order from the U.S. Army comes as a powerful endorsement for what could become a valuable civil lifesaving technology.