Northrop Grumman has been selected by AgustaWestland to provide flight-critical inertial instruments on the new AW609 TiltRotor aircraft undergoing civil certification through the Federal Aviation Administration.
Developed by Northrop Grumman Navigation and Maritime Systems Division's subsidiary in Germany, Northrop Grumman LITEF, the LCR-110 Inertial Reference System and the LCR‑300A Air Data Attitude Heading Reference System have been chosen as standard inertial navigation products for the advanced AW609 TiltRotor.
"This suite of combined equipment provides critical flight control and navigation data to help the aircraft achieve required availability, precision and the highest levels of integrity," said Eckehardt Keip, managing director for Northrop Grumman LITEF. "Our products enhance precision navigation operations, improve safety margins, save weight and volume, and provide attractive commercial advantages."
The LCR‑110 features a high-performance, fibre-optic gyro-based inertial measurement unit and an advanced micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) triad accelerometer. The system offers hybrid navigation via global navigation satellite system data, in addition to aircraft autonomous integrity monitoring for GPS signal integration and integrity checks. These features are essential for precise Required Navigation Performance flight operations. The LCR‑110 evolved from the successful, longstanding LCR‑100 product family that has been selected for numerous rotorcraft and fixed-wing platforms.
The LCR‑300A is being introduced after several years of independent research and development. The system's MEMS gyro provides advanced attitude heading reference system performance in combination with a magnetic sensing unit. It also features directional gyro mode, which minimizes magnetic compass errors.
The digital air data computer module, which is embedded in the LCR‑300A, was developed by Curtiss-Wright Corporation's Defense Solutions division. It weighs less than 0.9 pound, yet contains the pneumatic sensors and processing electronics to generate the complete International Civil Aviation Organization air data parameter set. The module is designed using the latest high stability, low drift pressure transducer technologies, providing exceptional repeatability and reliability.
The twin engine, fly-by-wire AW609 TiltRotor combines the benefits of a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft into one platform. The aircraft is a natural choice for civil and para-public roles, flying above adverse weather conditions at 25,000 feet in a comfortable and pressurised cabin at twice the speed and the range typical of helicopters.