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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thales Describes RAF Chinook Cockpit

Thales this week described the avionics suite it will provide for British Royal Air Force CH-47 Chinooks under contract from Boeing.

In a press briefing Tuesday at the Farnborough Airshow, Thales said it will provide an integrated glass cockpit based on its TopDeck avionics suite, designed for military and civil helicopters including the Sikorsky S-76D. The RAF Chinooks will have four 6X8 multifunction displays, two on either side of an existing central instrument panel. Thales also will offer a stowable tablet computer with touchscreen interface, what it called a tactical data system with moving-map and mission planning capability.

“We’ve used as much of the TopDeck core elements as we can,” said Peter Hitchcock, managing director of the Thales U.K. avionics business unit. “We focused on how to optimize and tune those (elements) for the requirement” while adding additional functionality sought by the RAF.

Thales is supplying avionics under the British Ministry of Defence’s Project Julius, a $650 million avionics and engine upgrade of the RAF Chinook fleet. Hitchcock said the fleetwide modification involves 46 aircraft. First flight of the upgraded Mk. 4 Chinook is expected this year.

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