The US Navy has awarded BAE Systems a $41.9 million contract for the purchase of Digital Autopilot Systems (DAS) that will be used to upgrade 120 of its P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
The contract also includes aircraft trial kit installations, ground and flight testing, and hardware qualification support. System deliveries to the Navy will begin in August 2005, and contract completion is scheduled for 2009.
The award follows a Navy contract with BAE Systems in 2003 for a limited number of autopilots that were used to test the flight characteristics of the new technology on the P-3 Orion aircraft. Those tests were successfully concluded in June 2004.
The DAS is a dual, fully redundant system comprising a digital autopilot computer, two solid-state rate gyro assemblies, and a combined autopilot control panel.
The digital system is lighter, more capable, and more reliable than previous P-3 autopilots, said Andre Doumitt, business development manager. “The DAS provides pilots with enhanced modes of operation, including control-wheel steering, navigation steering, a broad range of hold modes, and automatic approach to CAT 1 landings.”