Firebird aircraft

Garmin International has supplied its avionics suite for installation onboard Northrop Grumman’s Firebird medium-altitude and long-endurance (MALE) aircraft.

Firebird, an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV), is currently equipped with Garmin’s new touch-screen-controlled integrated flight deck system, a commercial avionics system modified for military use.

Garmin aviation sales and marketing vice president Carl Wolf said the selection was based on the company’s proven track record in development and certification of sophisticated commercial avionics.

”Commercial avionics are an increasingly compelling option for government and military aircraft because they offer excellent features with significant time and cost savings,” Wolf added.

The Firebird cockpit features three 14-inch, high-definition, widescreen display,

The multi-pane displays show primary flight information to both the pilot and co-pilot, along with moving maps, charts, engine indications and other critical flight information.

Two touchscreen display/controllers have also been installed to provide a centralised and intuitive interface to the cockpit, to help provide pilots with rapid access to required flight information, and also to facilitate control of external missions systems.

Additional equipment include Garmin’s synthetic vision technology (SVT), GWX 70 doppler-capable weather radar and GTS 850 traffic and collision avoidance system (TCAS I) for hazard avoidance and enhanced battlefield awareness.

Widescreen displays, touchscreen controllers and flight management systems are also present in the ground control station (GCS), which is required to fly the aircraft during operation as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Powered by a single Lycoming TEO-540 engine, the Firebird is a MALE manned or unmanned aerial vehicle designed to support the US Military’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Image: a Firebird optionally piloted vehicle during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.