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Friday, March 7, 2014

Regional Scan: Europe

by Woodrow Bellamy III

Sagem to Develop Sperwer Drones for French Army

Sperwer tactical drone system. Courtesy of Sagem
Sagem has been awarded a contract to develop five additional Sperwer tactical drones to be deployed by the French army.

The Safran subsidiary will develop optronic sensors, printed circuit boards, and the flight control and navigation systems for the drones at several of its plants throughout France.

Several other companies in France are also providing subassemblies for the drones, which will be delivered in 2015.

Based on experience with the Sperwer system, Sagem is also now developing the Patroller long-endurance tactical drone system to meet the French army’s future needs, as well as for the international market.

Thales TopStart to Power Dassault Falcon 5X

The electric starter-generator system TopStart is Dassault’s choice for its Falcon 5X business jet. The Falcon 5X engine Snecma Silvercrest has control laws that sync well with TopStart, according to Guy Lefebvre, Thales president.

The TopStart unit includes three electronic control units and rectifier units, one electronic starter converter, and three starter-generators for main engines and the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), which supplies electric power to both engine starters. After the start-up sequence, the starters function as generators powering the aircraft electrical network.

The system factors air temperature, blade tip clearances and exchanges data with the engine’s control unit to increase rotation speed and torque progressively.

The combined electric-starting power generator is more compact than conventional pneumatic starters, reduces weight, improves engine durability and increases energy efficiency from 70 to 90 percent, claims Thales.

The system choice is Dassault’s first electric-power generator combined single unit installed in a business jet.

Paris Deploys Point Merge Approach

A depiction of inbound aircraft following the new Point Merge Approach at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. Courtesy of SESAR Joint Undertaking
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport has deployed a new high altitude arrival procedure, Point Merge, to integrate inbound flights and increase the number of flights that air traffic controllers can manage simultaneously.

Point Merge is implemented by setting a merge point in the airspace near the airport and then drawing arcs further out that are centered on the defined point.

The procedure was implemented based on validations from the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program, and involves an inbound aircraft placed in one of the arcs and then directed towards the merge point, on a straight course. The next aircraft follows the same procedures, allowing arriving traffic to merge on the same point.

 Eurocontrol Appoints New ATM Director

Phillippe Merlo is the new director of Air Traffic Management (ATM) at Eurocontrol.

Merlo will oversee the organization’s ATM, and research and development, including relations with international bodies such as ICAO. “Philippe Merlo is a perfect fit for us at Eurocontrol — a senior manager with hands-on experience managing an ATC Center who has had senior roles in finance, research and development, and in managing major projects,” said Frank Brenner, director general of Eurocontrol.

S-61 Completes First Flight With Cobham Upgrades

Sikorsky has completed the maiden test flight of the modernized version of its S-61T helicopter with upgraded avionics from Cobham. The upgrades were provided by the U.K. manufacturer’s Texas-based subsidiary Cobham Commercial Systems. Included in the upgrade package are a “survivability suite” and glass cockpit, as well as all new electrical wiring throughout the aircraft.

Steven Rogers, director of S-61 programs at Sikorsky calls the flight a “major milestone” for the company which is under contract to provide the U.S. Department of State with 110 refurbished S-61 helicopters.

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