The market for in-flight connectivity systems in business aircraft is “exploding,” with multiple providers offering new capabilities for the cabin and cockpit, panelists said Oct. 13 during an Avionics Magazine webinar, “Business Jet Connections: In-Flight Connectivity Services and Solutions for Business Aircraft.”
Connectivity solutions for the cabin enabling in-flight use of email, smartphones, SMS and Web services have been getting most of the publicity lately, but connectivity for the cockpit, for weather updates, flight planning and air-traffic control messaging via Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), also is driving equipage in the business jet market.
The market is poised for more growth as the industry awaits FAA approval of Future Air Navigation System (FANS) over Iridium (FOI) capability, which is expected by the end of the year. FANS 1/A uses VHF when in range, but primarily relies on the Inmarsat constellation for CPDLC text messaging and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) position reporting.
“There’s a lot of momentum going toward using the Iridium constellation for FANS,” said Ed Borger, Honeywell Technical Sales senior manager. “ … Suffice to say there are two potential satellite constellations that will bear the air-traffic control in the future. There are no mandates associated with FANS yet — they’re not saying aircraft will have to equip to use the FANS routes. But they are discussing blocks of airspace over the Atlantic that will require a FANS solution.”
A Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) recently concluded a series of field trials of FOI and submitted recommendations to FAA. The PARC concluded that Iridium could meet the speed, reliability and service requirements for air-traffic control communications.
“Essentially what they have said is Iridium is a viable solution for this communications method,” said Darren Emery, director of Customer Service and Product Support with International Communications Group Inc. (ICG), which provided equipment for the FOI trial. “At this point, it really is simply a matter of waiting for FAA to approve FANS over Iridium. We certainly hope it will be very soon.”
The proliferation of mobile devices in business aircraft cabins is driving demand for more bandwidth to accommodate carry-on devices.
“The connectivity landscape, frankly, has exploded in a relatively short amount of time,” said Stephen J. Timm, Rockwell Collins vice president and general manager of Information Management Systems. “We’ve seen multiple service providers, and it’s likely that this will continue to be the case in the near future. I think this means more options and opportunities for connectivity, but it also means an increasingly complex array of solutions and choices to choose from.”
Even with the variety of connectivity solutions available — Inmarsat, Iridium, Ku-band, Aircell Gogo terrestrial — no one system meets the needs of all operators, panelists said.
“Despite all the different solutions and services that exist today or are being talked about, because of the different needs and the requirements both for flight deck and cabin operations, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution that we see in the market,” Timm said. “If you look at the various parameters that it takes to select the best solution from a connectivity perspective for your aircraft,” he said, citing coverage, bandwidth, equipage, cost and regulatory requirements, “no one satisfies all five of these parameters.”
Timm also observed that cockpit applications are driving demand for real-time information, while the cabin is driving demand for more bandwidth.
“Operators are looking for a simple system that is easily installable, maintainable and provides all of the capabilities and expectations,” said Mark Goodman, EMS Aviation product manager for Satcom Transceivers.
“The cockpit is absolutely riding on the coattails of capabilities in the cabin. The cockpit is the pilot’s office, and he expects to be able to be connected just like he was on the ground.”
An archived version of the Avionics webinar, “Business Jet Connections: In-Flight Connectivity Services and Solutions for Business Aircraft,” is available at www.aviationtoday.com/webinars. — Emily Feliz
The lagging United States economy is dragging down the global business aviation market, according to Honeywell’s Business Aviation Outlook, issued Oct. 17. Softness in the market is predicted to continue for the next few years, with recovery delayed until 2012.
In its 19th annual forecast, issued in advance of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Honeywell predicted 2010 business jet deliveries of 675 to 700 aircraft, down 16 to 17 percent from 2009, due to “continued global economic weakness as well as overarching concerns about government debt, austerity programs, export growth, financing costs, and general availability.”
Expected deliveries in 2011 will also fall below 700, according to the forecast. Five-year buyer interest has softened from 2009, and new purchase plans are slightly below levels observed during the 2007-2008 industry growth period.
“This year, operators outside North America have become more cautious about the strength and pace of the recovery. While they are still looking beyond the current economic climate and anticipating a return to improved business conditions, they have tempered near term expectations and buying decisions as reflected in the current delivery forecast,” stated Rob Wilson, president, Business and General Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace. “Despite the slow pace of economic recovery, North American operators responding to the Honeywell survey indicated their overall new-jet purchase plans for the five-year horizon were largely unchanged from a year ago.”
The avionics manufacturer predicted delivery of 11,000 new business jets from 2010 through 2020, generating estimated industry sales topping $225 billion. This number represents a 10 percent increase in sales versus the 2009 forecast, Honeywell said.
More cautious international purchase plans, most notably in Europe and the Middle East, have resulted in overall five-year demand for new jets resembling demand seen in 2007-2008, but still above demand seen in the post-Sept. 11, 2001 recovery cycle. In the 2009 forecast, international five-year purchase plans represented a bright spot for the industry, accounting for more than 50 percent of total new aircraft purchases; in 2010, however, the number has fallen to 40 to 45 percent, Honeywell said.
Still, Wilson said, there is reason for optimism, with a period of expansion starting in 2012. The survey showed a steady shift to large cabin aircraft models in overall buying plans, aligning with the relatively strong performance of large cabin model deliveries so far in 2010.
“Despite a torpid recovery, there have been relatively few program cancellations and delays, so the pipeline of new high-value models supporting long-term growth remains strong. Our survey indicates that international demand will still remain significant and contribute to longer-term growth,” Wilson stated.
HEMS Proposed Rule
Changes that include mandated terrain-warning and other systems are planned for the regulations that guide helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations, under an FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released Oct. 7.
The rule addresses an increase in HEMS-related fatalities that occurred from 2002 to 2008. The latter year was the deadliest on record for the industry, with six accidents claiming 24 lives. Between 1992 and 2009, there were 135 HEMS accidents resulting in 126 fatalities. In addition, FAA reported 75 commercial helicopter accidents between 1994 and 2008, with 88 fatalities.
The NPRM proposes requirements for all Part 135 aircraft, Part 91 helicopter operations and air ambulance and commercial helicopter operations.
Under the proposed rule, HEMS operators would be required to install helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS) and flight-data recorders, and follow formalized flight-monitoring procedures. Commercial helicopter operators would be required to install radio altimeters.
The NPRM states that HTAWS equipment would have to conform to TSO-C194, which sets minimum performance standards for helicopter-specific terrain warning technology. It would have to be installed three years from the effective date of the final rule.
“HTAWS takes into account that helicopters generally do not fly as fast as airplanes and typically operate closer to the ground in hazard-rich environments,” the proposed rule states.
“HTAWS assesses the aircraft’s position over a smaller area of terrain than TAWS to prevent warnings to pilots of terrain or obstacles that do not immediately pose a hazard.
“The FAA believes that the decrease in nuisance warnings with HTAWS increases the usefulness of the equipment. It is because of these significant differences that the FAA is proposing to require certificate holders to install HTAWS and would not accept TAWS designed for an airplane as an alternate means of compliance.”
Operators flying helicopters equipped with an FAA-approved night-vision imaging system, including night-vision goggles (NVG) could apply lower weather minima during night operations.
“The FAA notes that it considered allowing certificate holders to use NVGs in lieu of HTAWS,” the proposed rule states. “However, the FAA has decided against such a proposal because NVGs may not be appropriate for all operations, and additional time is needed to research the best use of the equipment before allowing it to be used as an alternate method of compliance.”
FAA will accept public comments on the NPRM until Jan. 10, 2011.
King Air G1000
Garmin announced a G1000 avionics retrofit program for King Air 300 and 350 turboprops. The airframes are expected to receive supplemental type certification (STC) for the G1000 retrofit in mid-2011.
With completion of the STC, the G1000 will be available as a retrofit package for select King Air C90, 200, B200, 300, and 350 turboprops and Cessna CitationJet aircraft, Garmin said.
“We have received a tremendous response to our G1000 retrofit programs,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin vice president of marketing. “By installing a G1000 retrofit flight deck, customers are able to completely revitalize their aircraft with state-of-the-art avionics capabilities and features that make flying safer.”
The G1000 retrofit configuration for the King Air 300 and 350 includes two 10.4-inch primary flight displays and a 15-inch multifunction display.
Options include Electronic Stability and Protection system, Synthetic Vision and GSR 56 Iridium datalink and GDL 59 data logger and Wi-Fi datalink.
The AVIATOR 300-based SwiftBroadband system received Supplemental Type Certification (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Bombardier Challenger business jet, Aircell announced Oct. 8.
Completed by Avionicare Ltd., of Essex, U.K, the STC covers the AVIATOR 300 equipment package, including Wi-Fi service and a fuselage-mounted intermediate-gain antenna. The STC is valid for all Bombardier Challenger models including the CL-600, CL-601, CL-604 and CL-605.
Aircell’s SwiftBroadband solution uses the Thrane & Thrane Aero-SB Lite broadband system. The two companies formed a partnership in September 2007.
VoIP In ATM
ISAVIA, the Icelandic Air Navigation Service Provider, Frequentis and Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems said they established the first Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) controller-to-pilot communications based on EUROCAE Working Group 67 standards.
The partner organizations designed a trial to prove the operational use of WG-67 standards in live use, built around Frequentis VCX-IP technologies and Park Air Systems T6 radio equipment. The system was tested Sept. 9 during Icelandair flights between Keflavik airport and Stockholm Arlanda and Reykjavik and Egilsstadir.
An IP network between the voice communication system and the radio equipment was put in place to test interoperability between the new IP equipment as well as with the existing radio infrastructure. This was proven by including tests for automatic best signal selection between receivers using both the existing radio system and the newer VoIP infrastructure. Voice quality was continuously monitored by both the controllers and pilots.
During the trial, network measurements were conducted by ISAVIA to gain knowledge about the performance of safety-critical VoIP in operational use.
“The trial has proven to be yet another big step forward in the use of VoIP in air traffic management (ATM) and underlines the practical application of EUROCAE Working Group 67 standards for VoIP in ATM,” the organizations said.
“All parties are very enthusiastic about the results and would especially like to thank Icelandair and Air Iceland for their valuable support from the air.”
4-D Trajectory Ops
Honeywell in September said it finalized a research agreement with FAA to evaluate and demonstrate the benefits of 4-D Trajectory-Based Operations in flying more direct routes to save on fuel and emissions and improve on-time arrivals.
4-D Trajectory management includes time as the fourth dimension in aircraft trajectories. Aircraft will automatically fly faster or slower to avoid congestion into airports, smoothing traffic flow and improving capacity.
Honeywell and FAA will leverage existing technology and FMS capabilities used on Boeing and Airbus fleets as a starting point for defining new standards to meet requirements for 4-D, according to the company. Work is expected to begin this year for an initial 12-month period.
“When 4-D trajectories are implemented, both pilot and air-traffic control workload will be improved by reducing the need for changing speed commands and intermediate level-off during descent,” said Chad Cundiff, Honeywell Aerospace vice president, Crew Interface Products. “With much more precise aircraft location data than is available today, pilots will utilize more direct approaches to save fuel and emissions, and the spacing between planes can be improved to better predict arrival times.”
NovAtel, based in Calgary, Canada, in September introduced its next-generation OEM6 GNSS receiver platform, supporting GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Compass satellite signals.
The company said its OEM628 board, the first in the new receiver line, expands positioning capabilities with the inclusion of Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) for safety critical applications, integrated LAN Ethernet port with NTRIP (Networked Transport of Radio Technical Commission via Internet Protocol) Client and Server capabilities for seamless integration into reference network applications, and 100 Hertz measurements for high dynamic positioning.
The board is form, fit and function compatible with NovAtel’s OEMV-2TM receiver. First shipments of the OEM628 board are scheduled for December.
Jeppesen, of Englewood, Colo., working in coordination with technical support partner DW International, of Hook, Hampshire, U.K., introduced the “Jeppesen FlitePlan RNP Predictor” tool for commercial aviation and business and private aircraft operators, the companies announced September.
The new service allows operators to switch from using traditional ground-based waypoint routes and procedures to implementing real-time GPS-based required navigation performance (RNP) operations. The RNP Predictor improves upon Jeppesen’s receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) technology, which provides predictions of GPS satellite availability and assesses the integrity and accuracy of GPS-based navigation signals.
Southwest Airlines became the first Jeppesen commercial aviation customer to integrate the RNP prediction tool.
“The Jeppesen FlitePlan RNP Predictor is a new tool that enables us to capitalize on our significant investment in RNP approaches that will produce bottom-line improvement within Southwest Airlines’ operations,” said Capt. Jeff Martin, Southwest’s assistant director of Operations. “Efficiency is the foundation of our environmental commitment, and making the switch from ground-to-satellite-based procedures will help us save fuel and reduce emissions.”
JetBlue, ViaSat Partner
JetBlue Airways and ViaSat, of Carlsbad, Calif., in September signed a memorandum of understanding to install in-flight broadband and other capability on JetBlue’s fleet of 160 aircraft using ViaSat Ka-band satellite service.
Under the arrangement, ViaSat will provide Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam2 modems for installation on JetBlue’s Embraer E190s and Airbus A320s, along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellites.
JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV will manage integration of the ViaSat broadband and related components on the aircraft as well as providing the Wi-Fi enabled services.
JetBlue and ViaSat expect first installations to occur by mid-2012. The companies plan to offer the same Ka-band satellite broadband services to the wider airline industry, including to LiveTV’s existing customer base of airlines.
“In just the three years since we launched BetaBlue, the first commercial aircraft with simple messaging capability, technology has advanced by generations,” said JetBlue CEO Dave Barger.
“Rather than invest in current technology, designed to transmit broadcast video and audio, we elected to partner with ViaSat to create broadband functionality worthy of today’s interactive personal technology needs.”
AP Avionx, of San Diego, the former AP Labs, recently acquired by Kontron, in September was awarded purchase orders by Row 44 for production quantities of the Server Management Unit (SMU) and Modem Data Unit (MDU) elements of Row 44’s Ku-band in-flight entertainment and connectivity system. According to the announcement, the production orders “will support widespread deployment of Row 44 services in 2011.”
Row 44, based in Westlake Village, Calif., is launching the system on the Southwest Airlines fleet.
AP Avionx initially was selected by Row 44 in late 2006 to design and manufacture the subsystems. Successful completion of test phases and FAA airworthiness certification in early 2008 led to customer in-flight testing and deployment in 2009 and 2010.
Cargo carrier FedEx Express is upgrading the avionics and ice protection systems on its fleet of 250 Cessna 208 Caravans, the company announced Oct. 13.
Garmin, of Olathe, Kan., will supply its G600 avionics suite, and CAV Aerospace, of Salina, Kan., will provide its TKS Ice Protection System. Yingling Aviation, based in Wichita, Kan., will perform the installations.
“Entering this contract is good news for the aerospace industry in Kansas, particularly with the current economic environment,” said Yingling President Lynn Nichols. “We are thrilled to be working with FedEx Express on this project that will enhance the company’s Caravan fleet with the latest in ice protection and glass cockpit technology.”
Yingling Aviation said it expects to install the TKS system and G600 avionics at a ramp up rate of 50 aircraft per year. Cessna and Garmin will provide technical support. No details on contract value were released, but Yingling said it would add up to 30 employees for the contract.
The dual-screen Garmin G600 pairs both a primary flight display and a multi-function display in a single 10-inch wide bezel. Additional features include the GRS 77 Attitude and Heading Reference System and Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology system.
“The G600 is an ideal cockpit for FedEx Express because it will give them the advantages of an all-glass Primary Flight Display and Multifunctional Display with industry-leading features like Synthetic Vision Technology and SafeTaxi,” said Garmin Vice President of Marketing Gary Kelley.
KC-10 Tanker FMS
Esterline CMC Electronics (CMC) was selected by Boeing to supply its CMA-9000 flight management system for the upgrade of U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender tankers.
The KC-10 Tanker Fleet Upgrade Program involves installation of dual CMA-9000 FMSs and multi-function control and display units, providing Precision Area Navigation and FANS 1 datalink capability, as well as several tactical functions.
The upgrade will allow the 59-tanker fleet to comply with forecasted 2015 world standards for communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM), permitting shared access to civilian and military airspace for tanker refueling operations.
The first tanker will be modified and flight-tested in 2012. Boeing is expected to complete and deliver the final KC-10 Extender modification in 2015. The single unit CMA-9000 has civil certified multi-sensor (GPS, INS, DME) navigation capabilities; conforms to the ARINC 739 multifunction control display unit standard; and has the capability to act as a radio management unit, CMC said.
The U.S. Army awarded EADS North America a $67 million contract to supply Mission Equipment Packages (MEP) for UH-72A Lakota helicopters to be operated by Army National Guard Security and Support Battalions.
The award, announced in October, represents the first phase of a total contract value estimated at $152 million.
Built at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., the MEP system improvements will be outfitted on UH-72As deployed throughout the United States where Army National Guard Lakota utility helicopters are stationed.
The Security and Support Battalion configuration includes a forward centerline-mounted camera system with electro-optical and infrared sensors and laser pointer; a 30 million candlepower searchlight; operator console; cockpit and cabin touchscreen displays with moving map; video management system; digital video recorder and data downlink system, plus an external hoist and communications equipment.
Deliveries of UH-72As with the MEP package are scheduled to begin in 2011. The contract covers the supply of 36 MEPs. The Army expects to ultimately acquire systems for 99 Lakotas.
Testifying before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, Henry Krakowski, chief operating officer of FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) urged caution in the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Krakowski and representatives of the U.S. military testified Sept. 13 before the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. The hearing was entitled, “The Integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System: Fulfilling Imminent Operational and Training Requirements.”
While acknowledging “the great potential” of UAS in national defense and homeland security, Krakowski said, “the limited safety and operational data available to date does not yet support expedited or full integration into the NAS. Because current available data is insufficient to allow unfettered integration of UASs into the NAS — where the public travels every day — the FAA must continue to move forward deliberately and cautiously, in accordance with our safety mandate.”
In the conclusion to his written remarks, Krakowski said: “Unmanned aircraft systems are a promising new technology, but one that was originally and primarily designed for military purposes. Although the technology incorporated into UAS has advanced, their safety record warrants caution.”
Sagem, Elbit Venture
Sagem Defense Securite and Elbit Systems Ltd., on Sept. 15 announced a memorandum of agreement “regarding the intended establishment, by early 2011,” of a joint venture to supply tactical unmanned aircraft systems for France and international markets.
The intended joint venture will be a French corporation, located in Eragny and Montluçon. It will be formed by equal contributions of assets from the parent companies, and offer newly developed as well as current and derivative products from Sagem and Elbit.
VT Group Acquisition
VT Group, the U.S. division of London-based Babcock International, will acquire the Evergreen Unmanned Systems business unit, part of Evergreen International Aviation, of McMinnville, Ore., the companies announced Sept. 28. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Evergreen Unmanned Systems current service offering includes training, logistics, operations, payload integration and testing to a range of government and commercial customers.
VT Group provides aviation maintenance, training, logistics and high-level program analysis. The company said the acquisition would enable it to extend its aviation support capabilities in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and missile systems to the growing UAS market.
“Over the next 10 years, the UAS market is on pace to more than double, representing significant opportunities for companies with the right capabilities,” said David Dacquino, VT Group CEO.
“By combining VT Group’s extensive aviation support experience with Evergreen Unmanned Systems’ capabilities and performance record, we can offer an enhanced capability in this developing market,” Dacquino said.
Evergreen Unmanned Systems personnel will join VT Group’s Technical Services Division and will continue to work in the field with customers or at the McMinnville campus.
The National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT), based in Fort Worth, Texas, and Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) of Thief River, Minn., are developing a standard and certification for technicians specializing in the maintenance and repair of Class 3, 4 or 5 unmanned aircraft systems.
NCTC will begin a UAS technician training program in 2011. Earlier this year, the college was awarded a grant of nearly $5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to establish a UAS maintenance training center.
Examples of UAS platforms for the maintenance certification include the Shadow, Fire Scout, Predator and Grey Eagle, NCATT said.
For information, see www.ncatt.org
âž¤ CSSI, Inc., of Washington, D.C., was awarded a $124 million task order contract to support the FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Office of Safety. Under the Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks task order contract, CSSI will help ATO accomplish its overall mission to improve safety and reduce risk in the National Airspace System.
âž¤ Raytheon received two contracts totaling $115.7 million for the AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS), the primary undersea warfare sensor for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R multimission helicopter. The contracts were awarded by Naval Air Systems Command and Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Strategic Acquisition. ALFS provides submarine detection, tracking, localization, classification, acoustic intercept, underwater communication and environmental data collection.
âž¤ Elbit Systems of America was awarded a five-year, $68 million indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract from the U.S. Army to supply the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard with AN/AVS-7 Head-Up Display components. Initial delivery orders totaling $23 million were awarded under the new contract, which follows a $75 million ID/IQ contract awarded in 2005. SU-180/AVS-7 display units have been operational with the U.S. military since the mid-1990s and are installed on the UH-60L, CH-53E, CH-47D, CH-46, H-1 and V-22.
âž¤ BAE Systems will provide Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems for U.S. Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons under a four-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract, with the first delivery order valued at $17.2 million. The company will provide 90 AN/APX-113(V) combined interrogator-transponders, IFF systems developed for the F-16.
âž¤ Raytheon received a $14.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy to produce and deliver AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization Systems (AMNS). AMNS is deployed by the MH-60S multimission helicopter to locate and destroy underwater mines previously detected by Raytheon’s AN/AQS-20A sonar system. AMNS consists of a helicopter-based control console as well as a launch and handling system equipped with four unmanned Archerfish neutralizer vehicles. Raytheon IDS is the prime supplier for the AMNS launch and handling system, working with BAE Systems, of Portsmouth, U.K., which produces the Archerfish.
âž¤ Lockheed Martin in September was awarded a $13 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to upgrade the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) data link with an enhanced digital Compact Multi-band Data Link (CMDL). The upgrade expands the Sniper pod’s current video data link capabilities by enabling digital transmission of high-definition imagery and metadata between aircrews and ground troops at extended ranges. The CMDL communicates with the fielded ROVER family of ground stations including ROVER 5, a portable handheld transceiver. The CMDL upgrade follows the S3.5 software upgrade of U.S. Air Force and coalition Sniper pods operational on F-16, A-10C, F-15E and B-1 aircraft.
âž¤ Rockwell Collins was awarded an $11.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy to provide updates to the VH-60N cockpit. Under the contract, the company will update the helicopter’s navigation, terrain awareness and other software. The work will be completed in May 2013.
âž¤ Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, was awarded a $10 million contract from the U.S. Navy for specialized test equipment required to perform depot-level repairs to the MH-60 helicopter common cockpit avionics suite, including artisan training, two operator control panels, and one universal power supply tester. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in 2013.
âž¤ BAE Systems received a $3.9 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide engineering, training and other services for the continued use of its Silver Fox unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Silver Fox is a gas/electric-powered unmanned system, weighing 30 pounds. It can carry electro-optical and infrared sensors, providing full-motion imagery for both day and night operations. The aircraft is capable of autonomous takeoffs and landings.
The contract was awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. BAE Systems will provide systems maintenance, engineering and analysis services, as well as logistics support and on-the-job training for operators.
âž¤ Uzbekistan Airways selected the Flight Data Interface Management Unit (FDIMU) from Teledyne Controls, based in El Segundo, Calif., for installation on new Airbus A320s. The airline will use the FDIMUs to perform flight data acquisition, aircraft condition monitoring and data recording to reinforce its Flight Data Monitoring program. Teledyne said the FDIMU is installed on nearly 75 percent of all delivered Airbus single aisle and long-range aircraft. The integrated system includes mandatory data acquisition and a fully programmable Aircraft Condition Monitoring System with recording functions and processing capability.