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Rotorcraft Technology Contributes to US Navy's Successful Test Bed Flight

The Test Bed for Rapid Warfighter Response and Experimentation, known as "T-Rex," is operated by the U.S. Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement (NACRA) and contains Northrop Grumman's Digital Avionics Suite technology.
by Staff Writers
Woodland Hills CA (SPX) May 23, 2011
Northrop Grumman's Digital Avionics Suite technology was recently used for the first time in the successful flight of a UH-1N helicopter that serves as an avionics test bed for future rotary wing hardware and software developments.

The Test Bed for Rapid Warfighter Response and Experimentation, known as "T-Rex," is operated by the U.S. Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement (NACRA), which is based in Patuxent River, Md. T-Rex is the only rotary wing technology test bed currently flown by the Navy.

The Digital Avionics Suite is installed in the back of a retrofitted UH-1N helicopter that has been transferred from the U.S. Marine Corps. The Digital Avionics Suite is a smaller version of the system Northrop Grumman has supplied for the AH-1Z helicopter and allows for test integration with minimal changes to the systems avionics or the aircraft.

The Digital Avionics Suite includes a mission computer allowing for easy system upgrades, two multifunction displays that make critical mission data available to the flight test engineers, and an LN-251 embedded global positioning system/fiber-optic inertial navigation system to provide precise positioning information.

"T-Rex allowed us to quickly and easily demonstrate enhanced combat capability concepts for a warfighting platform," said Lt. Col. John Selby, the AH-1W/UH-1N platform team lead of the Marine Corps Light Attack Helicopter Program. "This capability demonstration was conducted by allowing simultaneous operator use of two completely different avionics hardware suites. In this side-by-side configuration, the operator was able to compare the dissimilar implementations in a uniquely efficient demonstration."

"The addition of the Digital Avionics Suite to NACRA's T-Rex shortens the analysis and test time for improvement of avionics systems and reaffirms Northrop Grumman's continuing commitment to developing high-quality situational awareness technologies," said Ike Song, vice president of situational awareness systems at Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division.

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