Thales touts TopDeck win on Sikorsky S-76D

 - October 24, 2006, 11:07 AM

Thales is in Dallas celebrating the first selection by a U.S. helicopter OEM of its TopDeck integrated avionics system, on the Sikorsky S-76D.

The French avionics house has achieved a significant position on other manufacturers’ product lines as well. This week, prominent at its Booth No. 1269 on the Heli-Expo’06 exhibit floor is a dynamic simulation of the latest TopDeck architecture.

Centered around four 6- by 8-inch flat-panel liquid crystal displays (LCD), the mockup represents the avionics Thales is supplying for the AgustaWestland A109 LUH (light utility helicopter) program. Phil Naybour, v-p for Thales’ helicopter business, said yesterday at a press briefing that this display closely resembles how the final S-76D panel is likely to look.

The glass cockpit for the S-76D is derived from the modular avionics developed by Thales for the Airbus A380 airliner, with the 8- by 10-inch A380 EFIS display panels scaled down to fit a helicopter front office.

As on the A380, track ball technology is the man-machine interface with the TopDeck interactive digital moving map. The suite also includes the first Thales integrated electronic standby instrument dedicated to a helicopter application. The 3-ATI unit is said to be compatible with all new-generation helicopter cockpits as well as being suitable for retrofit to older rotorcraft.

Naybour said the system interfaces for the S-76D TopDeck suite are not yet finalized, but he emphasized that the system’s open architecture can accommodate a variety of display formats such as synthetic vision and mission-specific inputs. He added that the final avionics configuration is being developed to coincide with first S-76D deliveries, slated for November 2008.