Dramatic improvements in searchlight technology are on the horizon. They promise to deliver better performance, enhanced safety and lower cost of ownership for commercial helicopter operators. Honeywell Aerospace is on the leading edge of this evolution, which builds on the company’s 80 years of experience in exterior aircraft lighting solutions.
“We’re launching a multi-phase program to introduce new LED searchlight technology for commercial helicopters,” said T.J. Pope, Marketing and Product Management director for Honeywell’s Lighting business. “LEDs offer a wide range of benefits for helicopter operators and flight crews. They provide superior performance to support the crew’s need for navigation, target identification, situational awareness and safety.”
LEDs – light emitting diodes – deliver much better light intensity so helicopter pilots can accomplish their missions. They also are more reliable, use significantly less power and last much longer than the halogen lamps used in current-generation searchlights.
Initially, Honeywell is providing a lighting retrofit solution that lets operators replace the light head on their existing Universal Searchlight and install an LED upgrade. The new light is an easy form, fit and function replacement that can be installed quickly and without special tools. This represents a major improvement over other currently available LED searchlight products, which suffer from low reliability, low light output and a more challenging installation process.
More information is available from Aviall Services, a Boeing Company, and a Honeywell channel partner for commercial helicopter searchlights. Future program phases will be introduced to reduce maintenance costs, complexity and pilot workload and improve usability with a mission-management approach tailored to the needs of next-generation vertical lift platforms.
Longer term, Honeywell is looking to “reimagine the searchlight” with multi-axis controls, gyro/geo-stabilization, GPS tracking and many other features that are not available in current searchlights. Future searchlight solutions will give pilots better control over brightness and beam width to meet mission requirements. They also will feature dual-mode provisions to enable infrared LED technology for covert operations and technologies to improve clarity by eliminating pattern striations.