Ruag Shows Off Super Puma Upgrade, Delivers Do 228s

 - June 18, 2013, 2:30 PM
Here at the Paris Air Show, Swiss company Ruag has this upgraded Super Puma helicopter on display. Improvements include TH06 avionics. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

Making its Paris debut in the static display is a Swiss air force Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma that has undergone the TH06 ISR upgrade by Ruag Aviation (Chalet A118, Static R). The Swiss company has designed and installed a major avionics overhaul that allows the Super Puma fleet to continue to provide service for many years to come.

Switzerland originally purchased 15 AS332M1 Super Pumas, which are designated TH89 in Swiss air force service. The air arm later went back to Eurocopter for 11 AS532UL/TH98 Cougars. In 2006 the air force initiated a program to bring the Super Pumas up to an avionics standard that met or exceeded the capabilities of the Cougar, and Ruag was given a contract for what became termed the TH06 project. Nine of the 15 helicopters have been redelivered, and the tenth is due next month.

TH06 is a major avionics upgrade that replaces and/or adds about 50 systems. At the heart of the upgrade is a new glass cockpit and integrated flight management system, with dual GPS, inertial navigation and a digital map display. New radios are installed with encryption and satcoms capability, and the ability to communicate with police units. The TH06 is optimized for ISR missions, with a sensor operator in the cabin to work the searchlight and forward-looking infrared equipment. The pilots now have night-vision goggle-compatible helmet-mounted displays.

Ruag’s upgrade makes the Super Puma safer to fly, particularly in the challenging terrain and weather that routinely faces Swiss pilots. Two-way information-sharing between flight deck and sensor operator enhance the helicopter’s effectiveness in the ISR and search and rescue (SAR) missions. TH06 is compliant with EASA regulations, and Switzerland’s military certification authority, armasuisse, has approved a supplemental type certificate.

Meanwhile, Ruag Aviation has delivered the first of two Dornier 228 New Generation turboprops to the Bangladesh Navy for maritime air patrol and SAR missions along the country’s 580-kilometer coastline. The second aircraft will be delivered at the end of June, according to Ruag, which builds the Do 228 at Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany.

The sensor equipment includes a 360-degree surveillance radar, Telephonics RDR-1700B radar and operator console, HF, VHF/UHF and VHF FM radios. The aircraft is equipped with a door that can be opened in-flight, a marine marker and life raft, enabling active engagement during SAR operations.

Ruag will also deliver a Dornier 228 NG to Japan-based New Central Airservice (NCA) by early December. NCA currently operates four Dornier 228s–three Dornier 228-212s and one Dornier 228 NG. The second Dornier 228 NG will be delivered in a passenger configuration to support the airline’s on-going expansion.