Drawing from four decades of experience, NLR developed an innovative mission planning system for the new Boeing CH-47F (NL) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters used by the Netherlands Armed Forces. The project was completed within two years.
In 2012, NLR reached two milestones supporting the introduction of six Boeing CH 47F (NL) heavy-lift helicopters into the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). In addition to the handover of the first helicopter following thorough preparation extensively supported by NLR, an innovative mission planning system was taken into operation for this helicopter type.
The Chinook ACMS (Advanced Cockpit Management System) Mission Planning System (ChAMPS) can safely and efficiently transfer mission-critical data from a central planning computer to the helicopter’s cockpit instruments. This enables crew to load data for navigation (including waypoints used by pilots to plan flight paths), communication (including settings for various on-board radios), and digital maps relevant to the mission. Pilots and loadmasters can also use ChAMPS to perform weight and balance analyses of the helicopter and its load, which can affect flight parameters such as speed and fuel consumption.
In developing ChAMPS, NLR drew from a wealth of experience it has accumulated over four decades working with comparable systems for helicopters such as the Eurocopter AS-532U2 Mk II Cougar transport helicopter and fighter jets such as the Lockheed F 104G Starfighter and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon. In addition to this high level of expertise, short lines of communication between NLR and DHC played a key role in successfully developing ChAMPS. ChAMPS was developed by cooperation between NLR and industrial companies.