Leonardo DRS said on Thursday that Boeing [BA] has awarded them a contract to develop upgraded Deployable Flight Incident Recorder Set (DFIRS) technology for F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. Work for the contract will be done by Leonardo subsidiary DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. in Kanata, Ontario.

The primary function of DFIRS is carried out by its Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), which marks aircraft location upon impact and sends an emergency signal for search and rescue. Under the contract, DRS Technologies will update the F/A-18E/F’s and EA-18G’s DFIRS with the latest emergency locator, antenna and battery technologies, and will provide extended available memory storage and a dual frequency 243/406 MHz ELT.

DFIRS has been standard equipment on F/A-18 model aircraft since 1992, with approximately 1,400 units in service with the U.S. Navy and international customers including Australia, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia and Switzerland.  Since its introduction, the DFIRS has been successively requalified for operational service on F/A-18E/F model Super Hornets and more recently the EA-18G model “Growlers.”

The upgraded DFIRS builds upon earlier generations of the technology originally developed by the National Research Council of Canada and brought to market by DRS. The redesigned system will ensure backward compatibility, allowing existing F/A-18 customers to take advantage of the new DFIRS without incurring modification to their in-service aircraft.

“We are proud to provide this advanced life-saving technology for combat aircrews around the world,” said Martin Munro, Vice President and General Manager of DRS Technologies Canada, Ltd.  “Boeing has been a pioneer in the adoption of deployable flight data recorders for military and tactical aircraft, and we are very pleased to continue our relationship to assist in the location and recovery of downed aircrews and vital flight data.”