Mission possible!

The French armed forces have begun operating the EC725. The units are also using the “Resco 2 Mission Preparation System” (SPMR2), a scalable product that has the potential to be adapted for civil applications.

 Eurocopter / E. Raz
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Selected following an invitation to bid, the SPMR2 is the product of collaboration between Eurocopter and EADS-DE. The former developed the software whilst the latter produced the hardware architecture. Jean-Yves Pujol, who is in charge of the programme, explains its essential functions: “The SPMR2 allows you to prepare a mission using a PC-type system. It takes into account numerous parameters, such as the aircraft performance, the relief, and the threat zones, and then calculates the optimum route.” One of the special features of the SPMR2 is that it can generate simultaneous navigation for eight EC725s by expertly taking into consideration the helicopter’s aerodynamic model. With a slightly lower level of accuracy, the system can also be used for other types of helicopter. Regardless of the aircraft type, the mission is always superimposed on a map background, and is then loaded into the helicopter’s flight management system (FMS) and digital map (DMAP) using transfer memories (RMU and PC card). “In November 2004, we supplied the armed forces with an initial, temporary version of the system,” Pujol recalls. “Then, in October 2006, we introduced a second version which was used for operations in the Lebanon and Afghanistan. This version will be replaced by the definitive SPMR2, which passed its factory acceptance tests by the DGA (French Armament Procurement Agency) on 31 January 2008.” Six workstations are currently under evaluation by the French army and air force and various test centres. The armed forces will eventually receive 19 complete systems. In practice, each helicopter will have a hardened portable system, which is carried on operations to ensure the autonomy of the crew. “Eurocopter is responsible for maintaining the operational readiness of this system over the next three years,” Pujol continues. “Beyond that time, we will continue to market the “Sirinam NG” soft core, which forms the keystone of the SPMR2. At the moment, we are mainly positioned on the military market(1), but we will also develop an offer for the civil domain. Instead of optimising the navigation according to ground-to-air threats, we could produce a system that will reduce noise or fuel consumption, for example.”

(1) 23 customers and 117 systems already sold (including 11 for Oman and 17 for Switzerland - with applications for the NH90 and EC635 respectively).


 Eurocopter/J. Deulin
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