US Naval Air systems Command (NAVAIR), December 13, 2010 - The Marine Corps’ 235th birthday, Nov. 10, marked the first flight here of the Marine Corps first CH-53E helicopter equipped with a new glass cockpit and avionics upgrade.
Now that the first flight has been accomplished, the upgraded CH-53E Super Sea Stallion will now begin flight test which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2011.
The H-53 program office, PMA-261, and the Air Combat Electronics program office, PMA-209, served as the Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) for the CH-53E cockpit and avionics upgrade and worked together to ensure the integration of the upgrades was successful.
“The CH-53E cockpit and avionics upgrade is very significant and provides tremendous capability improvements for our Sea Stallion aircrews. Our NAVAIR team has transformed an aging cockpit and numerous supporting systems into a modern flight deck that has a digital backbone for today’s demanding missions and growth capability for the future,” said Capt. Ralph Portnoy, program manager, PMA-209. “Some of the new capabilities include Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management, with Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation, Mode S transponder, and 8.33 kHz radio channel spacing.”
“We also added Mode 5, Integrated Blue Force Tracker, Integrated Moving Map, Integrated Degraded Visual Environment/Brown Out Hover Cueing, Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System, Joint Mission Planning and a few others upgrades,” added Portnoy. “In today’s environment, information is key and this cockpit design and avionics upgrade is critical to getting that information in front of the right people at the right time. I can’t say enough great things about this combined multi-office team from across NAVAIR working together to make this happen. It goes to show you what we can accomplish when we collaborate as a team and drive to do things better.”
The CH-53E upgrade is another of many aircraft government LSI upgrades championed by PMA-209 and partnering with our fellow platform program office customers.
Previous PMA-209 LSI teamed upgrades include PMA-290's P-3C, PMA-231's C-2A and E-2C Hawkeye 2000 have all successfully completed flight test and have aircraft modifications underway.
PMA-209 has also teamed on other platform integrations such as the U.S. Coast Guard's HC-130H, PMA-261's MH-53E and commencing next year are the Navy C-130T’s under PMA-207.