By Chris Genna,
Farnborough, England - Flight Visions, Inc., has won a $9 million contract from Northrop Grumman to fit its Sparrow Hawk head-up display to the U.S. Navy's F-14B Tomcat fighters.
The cockpit upgrade will include the Sugar Grove, Ill., company's FV-3000 modular mission display processor system.
"According to field data gathered from more than 100 aircraft over six years," said Flight Visions President Robert Atac, the Navy will see mean time between maintenance action (MTBMA) on these systems go from 11 hours to as high as 750 hours or more."
The upgrade will use the same mountings, wiring and mission computer software already installed in the Tomcats, Atac said, resulting in significant cost savings to the Navy.
The Sparrow Hawk and FV-3000 will give the Tomcat and the Navy several benefits besides the increase in reliability, Flight Visions said. Because the Sparrow Hawk incorporates its own integral combiner, The Navy can replace F-14B windshields with the night vision version in use on the F-14D. The new HUD's symbology will be similar to the D Tomcat, and the HUD will have almost twice the field of view, more accurate symbol placement, a working velocity vector and the flexibility to change functions.
The upgrade, said Northrop Grumman program manager Frank Wagner, "is an excellent example of tailored, commercial off-the-shelf technology ... to solve a critical maintenance challenge."
Night Visions said it will begin the engineering phase immediately and will begin production and deliver the first of 82 units in the second quarter of 1999.
Flight Visions has an FV-2000 model certified and flying on business aircraft ranging from twin turboprops to international jets.