U.S. COAST GUARD
The first production MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter was delivered to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., June 3.
tions at Rockwell Collins. “The crew can sit down at a
ground mission planning station [and] plan their flight
out to a rescue point or on a patrol for harbor security
or another homeland security-type mission.
“They can load that flight plan onto a data cartridge,
carry it to the aircraft, insert it into the CAAS system
and fly that preprogrammed flight plan for their mission,” he said. “There’s an onboard navigation database
that allows them to insert new fly-to points during the
mission. They can also insert search patterns on the fly
at any point in the flight plan as they need to.”
The CAAS system includes an embedded software
digital map that allows the crew to display multiple
digital chart types as well as terrain maps.
“The navigation information is overlaid on those
maps so that it improves flight situational awareness,”
Toy said. “It makes it much easier to understand where
[the crew] is going and what they’re doing.”
The CAAS also provides integrated performance management functions, enabling the system to calculate —
“based upon aircraft weight, fuel loads, air speed, altitude
and all of the engine conditions — exactly what it’s going
to take to fly the plane according to flight plan,” he said.
CAAS can calculate fuel onboard, fuel remaining, best-rate speeds and the fuel required to return to base with
minimum reserves, as well as the current weight to give
the crew alerts regarding the aircraft’s center of gravity.
“CAAS brings three [advantages],” Toy said. “From
a crew aspect, it brings them increased capabilities in
the cockpit. There’s a huge amount of capability with
respect to the user interface providing an easy-to-use,
concise display of information in the cockpit. Use of
features such as color, different symbology sets and
capability to automatically process information to produce cautions and warnings to the crew dramatically
reduces crew workload. The system also provides fully
integrated tactical navigation. That’s a big improvement over what they previously had in the old system.”
Rockwell Collins also is integrating the company’s
commercial flight management systems with CAAS’s
tactical flight management system to make the system
fully operable in commercial airspace.
The CAAS first entered service in 2007 on the Army’s
MH-47G Chinook special operations helicopter, and has
since been installed on the CH-47F. The CAAS also is
being developed for installation in the Army’s MH-60L,
MH-60M and UH-60M, and Marine Corps’ CH-53E and
VH-60N, the latter used for executive transport missions for the president of the United States.
Menders said one reason the CAAS was selected was
the economies of scale of a system that was in use in more
than 2,500 helicopters in the Department of Defense.
The avionics upgrade, which includes a new
Tactical Air Navigation system (a radio navigation aid)
and a new FLIR Systems Talon electro-optical/infrared
sensor turret, “gets rid of 12 of the top 20 mission
degraders,” Menders said.
Menders said the Coast Guard is looking at a new
radar for the MH-60T to replace the current weather
radar, preferably one with a surface search mode and a
small-target mode to scan the seas for craft such as the
semi-submersibles used by drug runners, as well as to
map ground features, such as rivers and shorelines.
Rockwell Collins is providing approximately 30
CAAS kits to the Coast Guard and expects “to outfit all
42 MH-60Ts when they’re complete,” Toy said.
The company also provided engineering teams to
Elizabeth City to support the installation design, instrument the aircraft and conduct ramp and flight tests
of CAAS. The company also provides equipment repair
and spares management as well as two engineers on
site to support day-to-day performance-based logistics
for the avionics on the Jayhawk.
“The Coast Guard does its own work on the MH-60T
aircraft,” Toy said. “This was an almost completely new
avionics systems design for the aircraft. It wasn’t just
simply screw in some glass displays and move on. They
did install other items on the aircraft at the same time.”
Originally, the project was intended to upgrade
HH-60Js to HH-60Ts. The incorporation of AUF
altered the project to result in the MH-60T designation
instead. The prototype MH-60T conversion began in
2006 and was rolled out in December 2007. The second MH-60T was used to validate the industrial
process for conversion.
The upgrade programs for the Jayhawk are “embedded
in the programmed depot maintenance process,” Menders
said, noting that the integrated assembly-line approach to
maintenance reduces the cost of conversions.
Two of the three MH-60Ts converted to date are
assigned to the Air Training Center in Mobile, Ala., for
training. The Coast Guard’s goal is to complete the 42
MH-60T conversions by 2015. Menders said the program
is expected to cost $451 million in 2005 dollars. ■
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009