Avalex officially partnered with ACE Aeronautics of Huntsville, AL, and Garmin International to solve a significant obsolescence problem for the Austrian Air Force. Austria’s fleet of nine S-70A-42 Black Hawk helicopters are aging (they’ve been around since 2002) and needed to comply with the Single European Sky initiative to standardize and futureproof air traffic management across Europe. The solution to Austria’s problem is based on ACE’s ACE DECK helicopter cockpit avionics upgrade kit developed in concert with Avalex and Garmin. The $40 million contract undertaken between Austria and GAS is for the design, production, integration and testing. The Garmin G5000H Integrated Flight Deck, designed to satisfy global airspace modernization efforts like Single European Sky, will supply civil navigation and flight management functions in the upgraded cockpits. Avalex’s rugged, battlefield-tested, qualified mission avionics, including ACM9454 cockpit management units, mission processors running Avalex Mission Mapping software, and AVC1816 Smart Video Management will supply military capabilities including tactical mapping, mission planning, and the integration of tactical systems including radios from multiple vendors, an upgraded Search and Rescue direction finder, inertial navigation and Scorpion® helmet mounted displays. According to GAS CEO Darrell Kindley, “this avionics modernization program will keep the Austrian Black Hawks supportable for another 20 years.” The ACE DECK upgrade kit first debuted at HAI Heli-Expo 2017 on board a GAS UH- 60A; news coverage of that unveiling can still be found on both YouTube and ShepardMedia.com. Given the current emphasis in military circles on “future-proofing” existing platforms, rather than designing new ones, a successful high-profile project like this one stands to, in the words of Dan Eckiss, Product Manager, “satisfy a huge market desire for economic, low risk and high tech modernization and sustainment of legacy Black Hawks.”

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