Northrop Grumman selected Garmin to supply the avionics suite for the new Firebird, an optionally-piloted vehicle (OPV) designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The Firebird is equipped with a tailored version of Garmin’s touchscreen-controlled integrated flight deck system.
“Commercial avionics are an increasingly compelling option for government and military aircraft because they offer excellent features with significant time and cost savings,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing.
The Firebird cockpit is equipped with three 14-inch, high-definition, widescreen displays. Primary flight information is displayed to both the pilot and copilot along with additional displays capable of showing sensor data, moving maps, charts, engine indications and other important flight information. In addition, the cockpit is equipped with two touchscreen display/controllers that provide a centralized and intuitive interface to the system, giving pilots rapid access to the flight information they want. The touch controllers also allow for the control of external missions systems.
The Firebird is also equipped with Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), which presents a 3-D depiction of terrain, obstacles, traffic and the runway environment on the flight displays. Garmin’s GWX 70 Doppler-capable weather radar and Garmin’s GTS 850 Traffic and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS I) are also on board the aircraft to provide the best possible picture of the operational environment.
The triple widescreen displays, dual touchscreen display/controllers and flight management systems are also used in the ground control station that is used to fly the aircraft when it is operated as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The Firebird made its first flight in November 2012.