Erickson has chosen to upgrade 12 S-64 Air Cranes with a glass cockpit solution that includes Astronautics’ Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 integrated flight display system, engine data concentrator unit (EDCU), and AeroSync Mission connectivity system. Astronautics will also be responsible for the avionics systems integration testing and functional verification for this upgrade.

Erickson and its OEM customers own and operate a global fleet of 35 S-64 Air Crane helicopters. As part of the first phase of this retrofit program, Astronautics will tailor its display flight application software per Erickson requirement and will provide Erickson 12 system shipsets. Each shipset consists of a system that includes five Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 smart displays, a dual-redundant EDCU, and an AeroSync Mission connectivity system.

The Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 is the latest generation of Astronautics’ family of Badger 6”x8” smart multifunction displays (MFDs). The integrated system shows primary flight, navigation, engine, and mission data, while integrating key data from all the subsystems on the aircraft. Highlights of the system include superior readability, versatile high-resolution video, night vision compatibility, and proven exceptional reliability.

Astronautics is customizing its Badger Pro+ Gen 2.0 system to enhance situational awareness for the S-64 Air Crane helicopter pilots related to the specific missions they fly. The upgrade includes mission display pages that indicate the status of onboard systems such as the retardant tank, hoist & pendant, and video from the enhanced vision system cameras.

For this upgrade program, Astronautics will also integrate its avionics and connectivity systems with Erickson-provided equipment prior to aircraft installation and flight test. The new subsystems will include: flight management system, radio communications, air-data, attitude and heading reference system (AHARS), radar altimeter, radio navigation, audio, and standby flight instrument. To ensure a smooth implementation on the platform, Astronautics will perform avionics software verification and integrated system testing at its onsite system integration lab (SIL) prior to Erickson’s installation of the new avionics on the helicopter.

“We are excited to support Erickson with our proven expertise as a systems integrator and provide a collaborative solution that will upgrade their S-64 Air Crane helicopter with a glass cockpit to enhance their pilots’ situational awareness while flying demanding construction, logging, and firefighting missions,” said Eytan Saletsky, Astronautics’ director of integrated systems solutions. “By listening to our customer’s challenges, we are able to design a custom solution, including MFD symbology combined with sensor video to address the specific needs of the flight crew operating S-64 Air Crane helicopters for complex missions.”

Program development phase has begun and is expected to enter its verification phase in spring of 2025.