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Chinooks to get ‘fly-by-wire’ makeover

CH-47
BAE Systems Receives Chinook Performance Award from Boeing

BAE Systems has been selected by Boeing to develop the Active Parallel Actuator Subsystem (APAS) on the CH-47F and MH-47G Chinook aircraft. The APAS award is significant for the Rochester, U.K. operation of BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector, as it represents the ninth Active Inceptor System (AIS) program win. 

This achievement continues the U.K. operation’s 100% win record in the marketplace, having won all flight-worthy development contracts for an AIS program to date.  It is also the Company’s first application of this technology to a non-fly-by-wire aircraft.

Boeing awarded BAE Systems an initial two-year development contract to produce a number of APAS units in December 2012, which are slated for flight testing in early 2015. The productionization phase of APAS will follow the flight testing and could lead to production starting in 2018.

The APAS technology interfaces with the Company’s Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS), already fitted to the CH-47F and MH-47G models. The DAFCS, already highly regarded by Boeing and their customers, will drive the APAS technology and provides an essential hardware platform.  It is loaded with the flight control laws that govern the rotorcraft, enabling Chinook helicopter pilots’ greater safety, situational awareness, supportability, and operational benefits.

BAE Systems’ APAS brings a significant amount of capability benefits such as improved task accuracy, force-feedback, and tactile cueing to non-fly-by-wire aircraft and continues BAE Systems’ tradition of innovation with this product line. The APAS is intuitive and works by back driving the existing mechanics within the airframe, to provide the tactile cues to the pilot through the feel of the controls sticks. This alerts them to potential limits, significantly reduces the demands on the pilot and enables them to achieve the maximum performance from the aircraft, flying at the edge of the flight envelope.

Dave Banks, director of Advanced Displays & Inceptors for Electronic Systems, said, “APAS featured on a Chinook will enhance mission capability, reduce pilot workload, and significantly decrease the aircraft’s operating costs through a combination of BAE Systems’ market-leading DAFCS and APAS. This is cutting-edge combat technology raising the limits of aircraft performance while building on our excellent supplier relationship with Boeing.”