APACHE Attack Helicopter Mk1 Equipment Safety Case Report

The Apache Attach Helicopter Mk1 operates with a navigation system, which utilises Global Positioning System co-ordinates. However, in order for the aircraft to navigate in the UK, conversion calculations have to be undertaken manually by the aircrew. This situation is unsatisfactory for two reasons; firstly, The manual conversion is prone to errors and secondly, the conversion adds to the ever increasing aircrew workload. Consequently, the Attack Helicopter Integrated Project Team (AHIPT) contracted BMT to supply a Latitude/Longitude converter for use in the Apache Attack Helicopter Mk1 environment to undertake the conversions.

An important element of the contract was to produce a Safety Case Report, in accordance with Def Stan 00-56 (Part 1)/Issue 2, which justifies the risks arising from the use of the equipment throughout the lifecycle, to be both Tolerable and ALARP.

Our Approach

The Information Systems Department of BMT Defence Services proposed an innovative solution aimed to exploit the benefits of SMART acquisition by integrating Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware (a handheld DELL AXIM X5 Personal Data Assistant (PDA) and bespoke software algorithms with a Graphical User Interface.

This approach offered significant initial provisioning savings together with an easily managed Through Life Support Plan.

The Converter is packaged in a removable aluminium case, fitted with 'hooked' Velcro™ tape to allow it to be secured to 'looped' Velcro™ patches stitched to aircrews' flying suits.

The Safety Case Report (SCR) developed by the Safety and Environment Department of BMT Defence Services (now BMT Asset Performance) addressed hazards arising directly from the use of the PDA Converter in the aircraft environment.

In addition, the SCR identified hazards associated with the use of the PDA Converter in the Apache training environment, for which the AHIPT and the aircraft supplier are responsible.

BMT implemented a programme of Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment early in the design phase of the project.

These assessments covered peacetime, special and wartime operations and were conducted to establish safety levels associated with the design and operation of systems, equipment and operational evolutions. A Hazard Log was produced  which was used to proactively manage risks from identified hazards, primarily by the implementation of design solutions.

Outcomes and Benefits

As a result of implementing a Safety Management Programme early in the design phase of the project, safety risks were effectively managed by the timely incorporation of design changes and operational safeguards and controls.

The Safety Case Report provided the AH IPT with the necessary evidence and justification to allow the PDA Converter to be used operationally in the cockpit of the Apache AH Mk1.