Following the successful conclusion of the Super Puma helicopter programme last year, RUAG Aviation is currently pressing ahead with the Cougar prototype upgrade. Although RUAG can build on much of the experience gained from the Super Puma project, the Cougar, a newer generation helicopter, presents a number of its own challenges. RUAG’s main task in this latest project is to unify the two different fleets by installing the same cockpit architecture.
The contract for the Cougar prototype upgrade was awarded to RUAG and signed in December 2014. Engineering work on the helicopter is currently ongoing, involving the replacement of hundreds of kilograms of cabling and tens of thousands of point-to-point connections. Thanks to the similarities between the Super Puma and Cougar upgrade programmes, RUAG Aviation has been able to accelerate its decision cycles, avoid delays when drawing up specifications, and even use a number of the same certifications.
As part of the project, RUAG is also upgrading the Cougar’s integrated self-protection system (ISSYS) and mounting a new flare dispenser. As a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider, RUAG Aviation offers solutions that are tailored to customers’ requirements. In this role, RUAG monitors the status of the fleet and understands the individual weaknesses and capabilities of each aircraft. RUAG is also committed to ensuring close collaboration with its customers. Other projects relating to RUAG’s core competencies include providing a cockpit upgrade for all of the Pilatus-6 fleet operated by the Swiss Air Force. The focus here is on integrating an autopilot for the aircraft and updating the largely analogue cockpit, thereby expanding the aircraft’s mission capability. Another involves providing MRO and upgrade services for the F/A-18 fleet of the Swiss Air Force, focusing on inspecting and repairing structures and extending the service life of the platforms.