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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lockheed Martin to Develop Helicopter Software

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $10-million contract to develop software that will enable MH-60R and MH-60S multi-mission helicopter aircrews to pre-plan their missions. The U.S. military’s Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) was developed by the U.S. Navy and Air Force based on a commercial-off-the-shelf architecture that standardizes how aircrews file their mission flight plans. JMPS will replace other legacy mission planning systems.

Lockheed Martin will develop a software module configured to JMPS containing the newest mission characteristics unique to MH-60R and MH-60S multi-mission helicopters, according to the company. Those missions include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, airborne mine countermeasures, search and rescue and ship-to-ship cargo resupply.

“The MH-60 module will give Navy SEAHAWK pilots access to the military’s most advanced mission planning tool, allowing pilots to easily capture and load pre-planned data in a format compatible between both helicopter types,” said George Barton, director of Lockheed Martin naval helicopter programs. “Once airborne, the aircraft’s avionics will know what mission to prosecute, the intended route and navigation waypoints to use, the communications frequencies, weapons and, sensors it will employ, as well as other critical information.”

The software modules will be loaded onto a planning system laptop that allows MH-60 pilots to select preconfigured mission plans, compile weather data, maps, navigational routes, targeting data and the types of weapons and sensors their aircraft will use for a mission. The finished mission profile is transferred to a memory card and uploaded to Lockheed Martin’s Common Cockpit avionics suite — the digital cockpit aboard both helicopter models.

During the next 30 months, Lockheed Martin will develop and test software for the MH-60 module, also known as a unique planning component, in Owego, N.Y. Subsequent tests will be conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu, Calif., and the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. JMPS-based mission planning computers with the MH-60 unique planning component will be available for deployment in 2012.

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