13 August 2001

Smiths wins £40 million military contract

The Ministry of Defence has awarded Smiths Group a 40 million contract to design and install its GenHUMS advanced electronic monitoring system in the Royal Navy's fleet of Sea King helicopters. These represent the majority of the 90 Sea Kings operated by the MoD. Deliveries will begin in 2004 with completion in early 2007.

The contract follows the development and integration of GenHUMS on 40 Mk 2 Chinook helicopters for the Ministry of Defence, which started to enter operational service in September 2000. The Smiths systems are also proposed for the UK Puma, Lynx and Chinook Mk3 fleets.

Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, chief executive of Smiths Group said: "The advanced technology developed by Smiths Aerospace division has given us a world lead in the introduction of in-flight diagnostics for helicopters. The MoD contracts for the Chinook and now the Sea King are reward for our investment in the technology and will have been closely observed by military helicopter operators world-wide."

GenHUMS is an integrated cockpit voice and flight data recorder with a health and usage monitoring system, installed on each aircraft as a 'single box' system. It continuously checks the performance of safety-critical components, providing advance warning of potential equipment failures and collecting valuable data for routine maintenance of the helicopters. The addition of Smiths' GenHUMS on the Chinook fleet has been described by the Defence Procurement Agency as a major step forward in UK military aviation safety."

The HUMS system monitors nearly 200 parameters vital to the operation of the aircraft - continuously acquiring, processing and storing data in cartridge form for routine maintenance and in a crash survivable "black box". Among the critical aircraft systems monitored are engines, transmission, drivetrain system, bearings and rotors.

Smiths Aerospace is the prime contractor to the MoD for the new GenHUMS. This includes tailoring the system to all variants of the Sea King aircraft now in service; aircraft trial installations; system verification; and airworthiness approvals.

In addition to the selection of GenHUMS for the Royal Navy Sea Kings, derivatives of the system have previously been selected for the BA-609 helicopter and are currently flying on the Bell 412 and Sikorsky CH-53. In addition, Bell Helicopter is offering the Smiths' HUMS for all international AH-1Z King Cobra sales.

ENDS