The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has fielded the next-generation mission computer, developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, for the first time on the UH‑1Y and AH-1Z helicopters under the H-1 Upgrade program.
The Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade program is replacing UH-1N and AH-1W helicopters with upgraded aircraft for significant improvements in capability, commonality, reliability and maintainability.
UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft are the first to benefit from Northrop Grumman’s Tech Refresh Mission Computer (TRMC), which is now in full-rate production and features multi-core processing.
The lightweight computer integrates advanced mission, weapons and video processing capabilities into a conduction-cooled, high-performance airborne computer capable of driving four independent, multi-function displays.
Dual mission computers are central to Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Avionics System (IAS) that powers the UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopter cockpits.
The mission computers provide centralized display and control of all IAS functions, including aircraft performance and flight instruments, onboard sensor and survivability displays, and improved situational awareness and health monitoring information. Additionally, Northrop Grumman’s avionics solution capitalizes on the company’s leadership and history in weapons and sensor integration, including development of the first airborne fire control computer nearly 50 years ago.
Northrop Grumman’s mission computers have been used in H-1 helicopters since the upgrade program’s inception in 1997, making the mission computers a safe, combat-proven and mature solution. Previous mission computers have amassed more than 200,000 flight hours in both peacetime and wartime operations and have exceeded the required mean time between failure rate.
“Our Tech Refresh Mission Computer gives warfighters an asymmetrical advantage and improved situational awareness through enhanced processing and C4ISR capabilities,” said Steve McCoy, vice president, land & avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “This next generation of centralized mission computing will accommodate future growth and rapidly bring emerging capabilities to the warfighter through its proven open system architecture.”
Northrop Grumman is providing identical mission computers for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft that make up the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons, resulting in increased commonality across multiple platforms through a shared integrated mission equipment package. Additionally, forces deployed on land and sea will benefit from greater cost efficiency and a reduced logistics footprint.
Northrop Grumman’s open systems architecture enables easy system upgrades; rapid insertion of new and emerging technologies; and integration of other platform avionics, communication, onboard sensors and survivability equipment.
Northrop Grumman’s scalable and fully integrated architecture supports numerous platforms such as the UH‑60, E‑2D, AH-1F/S and other aircraft worldwide. The operators of these aircraft can reduce their logistics footprint by having common avionics in multiple platforms and avoid sustaining large component inventories.