As defence budgets come under strain from the increasing complexity in the security landscape, militaries are beginning to look at using more cost effective means to achieve their mission outcomes. One of the key areas where significant cost savings and effectiveness can be realised is in military aviation training. The ability to use civil helicopters to perform military flying training allows the militaries to leverage economies of scale in the extensive commercial supply chain and tap into the large pool of aftermarket solutions. The cost and schedule advantage is significant as the militaries can rely on civil airworthiness regulators to ensure adequacy and safety of the aftermarket solutions, and through mutual recognition of appropriately rigorous civil regulatory standards, accept suitably qualified solution providers as being acceptable without the overheads of auditing and complying with the bespoke military airworthiness regulatory system.
GVH Aerospace was presented with the challenge of designing and supplying a hoist light system for the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS). The HATS program uses a fleet of EC-135 helicopters to provide helicopter pilot and aircrew training, including hoist operations training. The belly mounted hoist light is designed to illuminate the area under the helicopter to perform hoisting training safely. GVH Aerospace, working together with the lighting manufacturer, designed a multi-element LED light of superior performance over existing competing products and a mounting solution for the aircraft. The hoist light system was flight tested on sister company Nova Systems UK’s EC-135 systems development and trials helicopter and delivered as a turn-key EASA approved modification, ready for embodiment on the ADF aircraft without the need for further flight testing.