What Role Does Meggitt Avionics Play In Measuring Air Data For Apache Longbows Worldwide?

Headquartered in Hampshire on the southern coast of Great Britain, Meggitt Avionics is a premier provider of sensors, flight displays, and oxygen systems for the military and commercial aerospace markets. The company traces its roots to the 19th Century firm Negretti and Zambra who was a producer of scientific instruments for British royalty. Now, instead of the Queen of England, Meggitt counts the U.S. Department of Defense as it biggest client. Today, the company’s avionics systems support the aircraft of Boeing, Bell, Lockheed Martin, NAVAIR, AgustaWestland, Alenia, Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (Taiwan), and Hindustan Aeronautics (Bangalore, India).

In 2009, Meggitt Avionics secured a USD$20 million continuation contract from The Boeing Company for the design and manufacture of the Helicopter Air Data Systems (HADS) for the AH-64D Apache Longbow program. Manufactured to MIL-SPEC, RTCA/DO-160D, and RTCA/DO-178B standards, Meggitt’s Helicopter Air Data System supplies pilots with real-time air data measurement information. Comprising of a distinctive rotating pitot probe, an airspeed and direction sensor (AADS), a contemporary miniature digital high integration air data computer (HIADC), and patented algorithms, the Meggitt Avionics’ HADS system measures airspeed within three knots across the entire service envelope of the helicopter. To measure air data, the airspeed and direction sensor (AADS) can detect flow angles, static pressures, and ambient temperatures.

The information collected by the AADS is then sent to the HIADC which interprets the air data for aft, left-right, and up-down velocity, the rate of climb, and the rotor downwash. The Helicopter Air Data System provides precise measurements for operations where real-time wind speed measurement is mission critical—such as external load applications using cargo hooks, missions happening in high-density altitude environments, and operations taking place in tough, mountainous terrain. The Helicopter Air Data System has been flight tested and proven on the following rotorcraft platforms:

  • Eurocopter BO-105
  • Bell UH-1B Huey
  • Bell UH-1C Iroquois
  • Westland/Wessex Scout
  • Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
  • Bell YAH-63
  • Bell AH-1 Cobra
  • Westland Lynx
  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook
  • Agusta A129 Mangusta (Mongoose)
  • AgustaWestland AW101
  • Bell AH-1 Super Cobra
  • Boeing AH-64 Apache
  • Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma
  • Bell AH-1Z Viper

In addition to supporting the Apache Longbow, Meggitt also participates in the following notable programs:
    • In 2014, Boeing awarded Meggitt the contract to design and develop the fire protection system for the Boeing 747 MAX engine, as well as the APU.
    • In 2014, Rolls-Royce awarded Meggitt a US$30 million contract to be the exclusive provider of the entire sensors and ignition package for the new-build family of BR700 engines.
    • In 2013, Dassault selected Meggitt to develop the braking and control systems for its fleet of Falcon 5X business jets.
As of 2014, Meggitt reports a revenue of USD$2.7 billion.


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