Systems Integration Labs for Presidential Helicopter Program Now Online at U.S. Navy Base in Maryland
OWEGO, NY, 08/20/2008 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has brought online a full-scale cockpit and cabin mockup of the VH-71 presidential helicopter as part of the systems integration laboratory in the Navy's Presidential Helicopter Support Facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD.
Called a Master Systems Bench (MSB), it is a replica of one already up and running at Lockheed Martin's Owego , NY facility, and gives engineers the ability to test VH-71 avionics and mission systems prior to installation aboard the aircraft, as well as giving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel the ability to test usability and provide immediate feedback.
In March of this year, pilots and crew from Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) evaluated the functionality of the VH-71 avionics suite, while staff members from several White House agencies conducted a user evaluation of the operational test scenarios that called for the communication systems operator to relay secure and unsecure calls, including conference calls, as well as conduct other communication operations. At the same time, pilots from HMX-1 simulated flight operations in the cockpit, while out-the-window displays depicted their virtual surroundings.
The advanced communications system of the presidential communications suite allows secure and non-secure communications between the helicopter and personnel at locations such as the White House, the Pentagon and other ground and mobile platforms.
The VH-71 is based on the US101 helicopter, a variant of AgustaWestland's successful AW101 multimission helicopter. AgustaWestlandBell, the principal subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, has responsibility for the basic air vehicle design, production build and basic air vehicle support functions. More than 200 suppliers in 41 states support the VH-71 program.
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.