Indigenous black boxes for Mi-17s

CHANDIGARH: The Air Force’s Russian built Mi-17 helicopters will soon be equipped with indigenously developed electronic black boxes in place of the existing older technology. These helicopters will also be fitted with underwater locator beacons (ULB).

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15

The Air Force’s Russian built Mi-17 helicopters will soon be equipped with indigenously developed electronic black boxes in place of the existing older technology. These helicopters will also be fitted with underwater locator beacons (ULB).

Though bright orange in colour, black box, a common term used for flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR), records the flight parameters of an aircraft, communication between the aircrew and radio transmission between the pilots and the ground control. It is vital for accident analysis and is also used for performance evaluation and training.

“At present, the Mi-17 is equipped with the SARPP-12 FDR and the MS-61 CVR where data is recorded in wave form on a photographic film that has to be developed in a laboratory for recovering the data. The Air Force is considering replacing these with gadgets having solid state memory where data can be downloaded, processed and stored digitally in a more convenient and efficient way,” an IAF officer said.

Sources said the new equipment would be retrofitted on two helicopters at No.3 Base repair depot in Chandigarh, which is mandated with the maintenance and overhaul of Soviet-origin helicopters in the IAF’s inventory. Performance evaluation and certification of the new equipment would be done by the co-located Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness.

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