January 31, 2012
Contract Award: AgustaWestland to provide its Mission Planning & Analysis System to Italian Navy's helicopters
As reported in a recent press release, AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, announced that the Italian Navy will receive a Mission Planning & Analysis System (MPAS) for its fleet of NH90 NFH medium twin naval helicopters. The MPAS contract, signed between AgustaWestland and NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency), fulfills the requirement for a multi-mission and multi-platform mission planning system that will be available in time for the early operations of the first batch of Italian Navy NH90 helicopters. The MPAS will also be compatible with similar planning systems in use by other European Armed Forces and capable of being expanded to support additional helicopter platforms and provide a secure interface.
The NH90 MPAS will support the Italian Navy in conducting mission tasks with the NH90 NFH and it will also include the capability to support multi-platform missions, therefore interfacing with the service’s AW101 helicopters. Moreover, it will provide the growth capability for supporting the future MTTH variant (Maritime Tactical Transport Helicopter) of the NH90 helicopter. The system will support the Italian Navy’s operations as well as training activities by providing the users with enhanced situational awareness, flight and mission planning functionality and a complete aircraft data upload/download capability. The system will achieve full operational readiness by the end of 2013 and it will be deployed across the main Italian Navy operating bases and vessels. AgustaWestland will assist the Italian Navy to deploy the system as part of a three year Initial In Service Support package that will guarantee the maximum availability of the MPAS stations during operations.
The MPAS is based on the state of the art AgustaWestland-designed Planning System Skyflight, a multi-helicopter flight and mission planning solution that all AgustaWestland mission planning stations currently utilise.
AgustaWestland’s Skyflight mission planning system is designed to help helicopter crews and Operations Officers plan, execute and analyse their operational missions. Operators can acquire, manage, process and analyze the data needed to conduct a mission in a range of operational scenarios. Skyflight uses a comprehensive operational database to provide advanced situational awareness. This helps users identify mission tasks and objectives and evaluate mission risks and to develop action plans.
Skyflight is currently operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy for the mission planning of their NH90 NFH fleet and Skyflight technology is in use for the development of the UK Ministry of Defence’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat and Apache AH Mk1 Mission Planning Systems. It is also a core element in the Flight Planning System for AW101 VVIP helicopters. Skyflight has also been delivered to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, supporting the mission planning of their AW109 LUH helicopters.
The Italian Navy’s NH90s will replace previous generation helicopters for a variety of roles including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and utility. The NH90 will give the Italian services a major increase in operational capability and mission effectiveness due to its outstanding technology and performance.
References: AgustaWestland (1,2)