Revue Thommen Shows Integrated Helicopter Searchlight

HAI Convention News » 2011
March 5, 2011, 10:40 AM

Revue Thommen, based in Waldenburg, Switzerland, is demonstrating its new HSL-1600 helicopter searchlight here at Heli-Expo. First production deliveries are slated for the second quarter. Pricing information is available at the Revue Thommen booth (No. 4108).

Among the HSL-1600’s claims to fame is its totally integrated software, including the software that allows the searchlight to be slaved to infrared and CCTV cameras and mission displays. Thommen says that other searchlights require separate electronic components to be mounted in the aircraft avionics bay to accomplish slaving. Visitors to the company’s Heli-Expo booth will be able to see slaving commands delivered to the HSL-1600 from a laptop, simulating the performance of the searchlight under mission conditions.

“All current helicopter searchlight systems are a composite of multiple components: the searchlight, power supplies, junction boxes, slaving software interfaces and so on,” said Rudolf Iten, Thommen’s vice chairman and director of sales and marketing. “The HSL-1600 system is totally integrated within the searchlight itself, simplifying installation and operation.”

A patent-pending infrared filter incorporated within the light assembly allows deployment at mission airspeed and provides IR visibility up to 1,000 meters using the 4- to 20-degree beam focus capability. Other 1,600-watt infrared searchlights employ an external IR filter flap that flips down over the main searchlight lens to achieve night-vision capability, he explained. This arrangement demands that the helicopter slow down during deployment of the filter, thus interrupting the pace of the mission until the filter is in place. “Ours can go from white light to infrared without slowing down,” said Iten. “It’s just a matter of turning on the filter electronically.

“In this industry, in which technology advancements have been limited, we have reason to believe that our searchlight design will revolutionize the business,” noted Iten. Thommen has plans to incorporate the advantages of the HSL-1600 in a lighter-weight model, the HSL-800, intended for single-engine helicopters in the U.S. law-enforcement market. The HSL-800 is still in the development phase and Thommen anticipates availability in the first quarter of next year.

Thommen has appointed Addison, Texas-based Instrument Tech as its authorized service center in North America for its line of helicopter searchlights.

The HSL-1600 system weighs about 65 pounds, according to Iten, which is less than competing products when all components are included. Another advantage of the HSL-1600 is that it is entirely removable, so during daytime operations, the 65 pounds is added back to the helicopter’s payload, unlike other systems that leave behind components that can weigh up to half the total searchlight system weight with the searchlight portion removed.

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