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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Industry Scan

Honeywell Display Combines Synthetic Terrain, Enhanced Vision

Honeywell Aerospace reports it is close to productionizing a combined synthetic vision, enhanced vision display that will support lower landing minima in a head-down display.

In a briefing in Phoenix in September, Sergio Cecutta, Honeywell marketing manager for Advanced Vision Systems, described the company’s work on a combined SVS/EVS display, which merges an infrared (IR) sensor input with Honeywell’s "SmartView" synthetic vision system, based on a worldwide terrain database. The company demonstrated the merged imagery in a simulation environment using actual software.

"As far as Honeywell is concerned, merging IR and terrain in three dimensions is easy, it’s done, it’s not new technology for us," Cecutta said.

"Something up to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 is in the research realm; something above TRL 6 is ready for production. As far as Honeywell is concerned, the technology is ready for production. Not only have we spent hundreds of hours with pilots, engineers and human factors (experts) to develop this technology in the lab, we’ve also flown more than 25 hours on different Honeywell aircraft."

Honeywell started research on the system in 2005, and has installed it on a Cessna Citation Sovereign. The company says there are 450 business jets flying with Honeywell flight decks and IR sensors that can access the capability.

In the meantime, Honeywell is participating on RTCA Special Committee 213 to develop Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for the display. Cecutta anticipates the display will be available for installations in the 2012-2013 time frame. — Bill Carey

Business/GA

Learjet Setback

Bombardier Aerospace announced Aug. 20 it had terminated its purchase agreement with Jet Republic for 110 Learjet 60 XRs. Jet Republic, a year-old fractional ownership company based in Portugal, was reported to have ceased operations.

Originally announced in June 2008, the Jet Republic agreement consisted of 25 firm orders valued at $340 million. The total value of the agreement was $1.5 billion assuming 85 conditional orders were confirmed.

The demise of Jet Republic was a further blow to Bombardier’s business aircraft division, which has seen cancellations outpace new orders. Reporting second-quarter results Sept. 2, the company said overall Aerospace revenues of $2.4 billion were down 5 percent, based largely on a 22 percent decline in business aircraft deliveries — 51 vs. 66 at the same time last year. This was partially offset by an increase in commercial aircraft deliveries from 23 to 28.

Montreal-based Bombardier, the world’s third-largest civil aircraft manufacturer and largest supplier of rail equipment and services, plans more than 4,000 layoffs this year.

The midsize Learjet 60 XR, equipped with Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, is built in Wichita, Kan.

"Bombardier remains committed to the Learjet 60 XR program and production of the aircraft at its Learjet facility in Wichita, Kan., continues as planned," the company said in its Aug. 20 announcement.

However, Bombardier Aerospace President and CEO Guy C. Hachey, in a Sept. 2 conference call with analysts and reporters, said the loss of the Jet Republic order has repercussions for the program.

"It impacts it significantly," Hachey said. "This year, not so much; there were just a few aircraft that were to be delivered to Jet Republic. But next year, our skyline was highly dependent on Jet Republic, so it is a big impact on us, unfortunately, to lose this customer."

Hachey said Bombardier’s success in netting new orders for the Learjet 60 XR will determine whether production levels in Wichita change next year.

Cessna SVS

Cobham in September said its synthetic vision system (SVS) glass cockpit was granted a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Cessna 550, its first STC for synthetic vision on a Part 25 transport-category aircraft.

The STC for the twin-engine light jet is configured with dual synthetic vision primary flight displays and dual multi-function displays, each with embedded Class A terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), integral flight management system (FMS) and digital flight recording.

Additional features include dual fiber-optic attitude gyros and dual GPS WAAS, Cobham said.

Approval of the system for transport-category aircraft "brings tremendous capability to older, analog-equipped aircraft," said Mike Sheehan, Cobham Avionics vice president. "Cobham now has the only synthetic vision system certified in all four regulatory classes of aircraft: large and small airplanes, and large and small helicopters."

Cobham, Mineral Wells, Texas, developed the first civil-certified SVS in 2002, gaining regulatory approval for use in light airplanes and helicopters as part of the FAA Capstone program in Alaska.

Barco Partnership

Belgium’s Barco entered into a partnership with Monitor Soft, of Zhukovsky, Russia, to jointly provide cockpit mission systems to the Russian market. The agreement was announced Aug. 17 at the MAKS Air Show.

The companies said the new mission system application is available for commercial distribution. The system is based around Barco’s MDU-268 Mission Display Unit, a 6-by-8 inch AMLCD compatible with FLIR, daylight video camera, moving maps and radar.

"Thanks to this partnership, we can offer our customers a new and unique mission management solution that combines Barco’s powerful MDU-268 display unit with an advanced navigation and task management software suite," said Sergey Trofimov, Monitor Soft CEO.

"The new system introduces several value-added innovations. For example, its compact footprint and low power consumption ensure an easy integration in virtually any aircraft or helicopter cockpit environment."

HEMS Recommendations

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Sept. 1 issued 19 recommendations aimed at reducing the accident rate of emergency response helicopters, known collectively as Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS).

The recommendations are directed to FAA, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Systems and 40 government-operated HEMS operators.

NTSB estimates the HEMS industry comprises 750 helicopters, 70 commercial operators, 60 hospital-based programs and 40 government-operated or "public" operations.

Last year was the deadliest year on record for the industry, with 12 accidents and 29 fatalities. In February, NTSB conducted a four-day public hearing in Washington to examine industry safety issues.

"These operations are unique and complex, mixing highly advanced medical care with the technical challenge of safely operating helicopters 24 hours a day," NTSB states in a synopsis of its latest HEMS report.

"Each year, approximately 400,000 patients and transplant organs are safely transported by helicopter. However, the pressure to conduct these operations safely and quickly in various environmental conditions (for example, in inclement weather, at night, or at unfamiliar landing sites for helicopter operations) increases the risk of accidents when compared to other types of commercial flight operations."

Ten recommendations to FAA address the issues of improved pilot training; collection and analysis of flight, weather and safety data; flight data monitoring; development of low-altitude airspace infrastructure; and the use of dual pilots, autopilots and night vision imaging systems (NVIS).

FAA is called upon to require, and public HEMS operators to install, flight data recording devices, and to "establish a structured flight-data monitoring program."

Similarly, the safety board recommends installing night-vision goggles and autopilots.

The board calls upon FAA to "conduct a systematic evaluation and issue a report on the requirements necessary for a viable low-altitude airspace infrastructure that can accommodate safe helicopter emergency medical services operations. The evaluation should consider improved collection and dissemination of weather data, the role of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, approaches to helipad and designated landing zones, and integration into the National Airspace System."

Avionics Startup

Two former executives of Matrix Aviation have formed a new avionics company, called Format Aerospace, based in Wichita, Kan.

The company will purchase, sell and exchange avionics, instrumentation and components for business and commuter aircraft. It is a partnership between Wayne Grossardt and Jerry Brezenski.

"At Format, we plan to build relationships based upon competitive price and exemplary service levels," Grossardt said.

Military

Moog Acquisition

Moog Inc., East Aurora, N.Y., on Sept. 4 announced it was in discussions with GE Aviation Systems to acquire GE’s flight-control actuation product line in Wolverhampton, U.K.

The Wolverhampton operation, part of GE’s acquisition of Smiths Aerospace in 2007, designs and manufactures primary and secondary flight control actuation for commercial and military aircraft.

It supplies high-lift actuation systems for the Boeing 777 and 787 and the Airbus A330 and A380. Wolverhampton also provides primary flight controls for the Eurofighter Typhoon and a main engine lift system for the Rolls-Royce engine on the short takeoff, vertical landing version of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter.

Wolverhampton logged $100 million in sales in 2008. Moog said its Aircraft Segment projects fiscal 2009 sales of $652 million.

B-1 Data Link

Boeing on July 29 completed the first flight of a B-1 bomber upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). The U.S. Air Force 419th Test Squadron conducted the flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif

The FIDL enhances the B-1 by integrating beyond line-of-sight and line-of-sight data links. The upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture.

The FIDL can reduce crew workload by re-tasking missions, eliminating the need for steps such as manual entry of weapons data for targeting. The modification also improves and more tightly integrates the aft crew stations by replacing displays and associated hardware that were installed during aircraft production in the early 1980s, Boeing said.

Additional improvements include new open-architecture processors, mass-storage capability and an Ethernet network to integrate aircraft systems.

Flight testing will continue through 2010. The Air Force is expected to award a contract in November 2010 for the production of FIDL installation kits for the service’s entire B-1 fleet.

GPS IIF Satellites

Boeing in September said it is on track to deliver the first of the next-generation GPS IIF satellites to the U.S. Air Force.

Boeing said Space Vehicle 1 (SV1), the first of 12 GPS IIF satellites, will be delivered in November for its planned launche in 2010. The second satellite — SV2 — completed a round of system-level testing at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The testing "confirms that the Boeing GPS IIF satellites will have no issues being supported by the GPS Ground Control System, designed to operate all satellites in the GPS constellation," Boeing said.

The tests, which began this year, were used to validate satellite transportation processes and equipment and the launch of the site test program, procedures and equipment, Boeing said.

(For more on the next generation GPS satellite replacements, see pg. 26.)

Royal Navy Orders ‘Q-Sight’ Displays

The U.K. military has placed the first order for Q-Sight, a new generation of helmet-mounted displays, BAE Systems announced in September. The Royal Navy will purchase 12 remote sighting systems, which incorporate Q-Sight displays, for its Lynx Mk8 helicopters.

"Q-Sight makes aviators more effective in many situations, including degraded visual environments such as brown-out conditions," said Jim Garceau, vice president of defense avionics for BAE Systems.

The Q-Sight display is a part of the Gunner’s Remote Sighting System (GRSS), a system that will allow the image from a machine gun-mounted thermal weapon sight to be displayed remotely on a see-through display mounted on the weapon operator’s helmet.

The system is compatible with standard night-vision goggles and enables users to seamlessly switch between goggles and the thermal sight to acquire, track and engage targets.

The 12 GRSSs will be delivered to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence by May 2010, with initial systems delivered at the end of 2009 for training use, BAE said.

ISR Testbed Receives Experimental Ticket

Lockheed Martin in August said its Airborne Multi-Intelligence Laboratory (AML), a reconfigured Gulfstream III, received an experimental airworthiness certificate from FAA.

The aircraft will be used as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) testbed for development of new sensors and processing capabilities for Lockheed Martin and its customers. "We’ve designed the AML so that we can easily test a myriad of sensors to advance the science and art of correlating diverse types of intelligence – with the goal of rapidly providing high-quality data," said Jim Quinn, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services-Defense vice president of C4ISR Systems.

Features of the aircraft include computing capability that supports most commercial operating systems, a radome on the belly of the aircraft and four workstations, Lockheed Martin said.

Unmanned Systems

UAS Simulation

Researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have developed a simulation environment combining real air traffic with simulated unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations.

The researchers hope to use the system as a training aid that will give flight students and researchers a level of aircraft operation experience that is not currently available, Embry-Riddle said. The concept also will be used to study the separation of piloted and unpiloted aircraft in the national airspace system.

Contributing to the simulation, Embry-Riddle aircraft equipped for Automatic Dependent Surveillance ¬Broadcast (ADS-B) are tracked on a graphical overlay of the Daytona Beach, Fla., airport and airspace, with their position updated every second. Live aircraft traffic and weather information is provided to a UAS operator, who can see a three-dimensional graphical adaptation of the aircraft, airport and the surrounding area. Students can be trained in UAS flight operations without actually having an unmanned aircraft.

"By using commercially available flight simulators, our researchers have fused live real-world air traffic with that of simulated UAS operations," said Ted Beneigh, Embry-Riddle aeronautical science professor.

"With this new combination, we can transfer the training and testing of UASs from the sky to the simulator while maintaining a level of realism to prepare UAS operators of the future."

Those interested in more information are advised to contact Bert Boquet, director of the Embry-Riddle Next Generation Advanced Research Lab, at albert.boquet@erau.edu or 386-226-7035.

GPS-Guided Viper Strike Tested On Hunter

Northrop Grumman on Sept. 1 said it completed testing of the new GPS-guided Viper Strike (VS) weapons system on the Hunter UAS at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The weapons system was expected to deploy to theater operations.

While previous VS systems required Hunter to be directly overhead, GPS VS offers the advantage of nearly 6 miles of stand-off range. GPS VS also can hone in on both moving and stationary targets. In use with the U.S. Army since 1996, the twin-tailboom, pusher propeller Hunter (above) recently surpassed 80,000 flight hours, 53,000 of them combat-related.

The next generation MQ-5B Hunter is distinguished by its heavy fuel engines, fuel-carrying extended center wing with weapons-capable hard points and new avionics suite.

Northrop Grumman recently upgraded Hunter’s flight and mission computers and added an auxiliary power distribution unit, LN-251 inertial navigation system with GPS, a downsized data link system and an APX-118 IFF transponder.

Commercial

New Honeywell CEO

Former chief technology officer (CTO) Tim Mahoney in September was named president and CEO of Honeywell’s $11 billion Aerospace business, reporting to Chairman and CEO Dave Cote. Mahoney replaced Rob Gillette, who resigned to head a Tempe, Ariz., manufacturer of solar modules. As CTO, Mahoney was responsible for a $2 billion research and development budget and 10,000 engineers. He led projects with key customers including Airbus, Boeing and Gulfstream. Bob Smith, formerly vice president of Advanced Technologies, replaced Mahoney as Aerospace CTO.

Mahoney joined Honeywell in 1997 after a 20-year career at the Sikorsky Aircraft commercial segment. He has served as president of the $4 billion Air Transport and Regional business unit; vice president and general manager of Aviation Aftermarket Services and vice president and general manager for the Enterprise Resource Planning project.

The company also named Kevin Moriarty vice president and chief financial officer for Honeywell Aerospace, succeeding Bob Hau, who left the company for another position.

Boeing Management

Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) President and CEO Scott Carson announced Aug. 31 he will retire at the end of the year. Jim Albaugh, 59, head of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), was named to succeed him, effective Sept. 1.

A 38-year veteran of the company, Carson, 63, headed BCA since 2006 and has been responsible for the troubled 787 program, now more than two years behind schedule. After repeated delays, the new widebody is expected to fly by year-end.

Carson previously served as BCA executive vice president and chief financial officer and was the first president of Connexion by Boeing, an in-flight Internet service operated from 2004 to 2006.

Albaugh, a 34-year company veteran, has led Boeing’s $34 billion defense, space and associated services businesses since 2002. Dennis Muilenburg, 45, formerly head of the $8 billion IDS Global Services & Support unit, succeeded Albaugh as president and CEO of IDS. The integrated defense business now accounts for roughly half of Boeing’s annual sales.

Pitot Tube AD

FAA in September ordered U.S. airlines operating Airbus A330s and A340s to replace at least two of three pitot static tubes manufactured by Thales with equipment made by Goodrich.

The order, effective Sept. 9, is connected to the ongoing investigation of Air France Flight 447, an A330-200 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June. European Aviation Safety Agency issued a similar order Aug. 31.

FAA said it will accept comments on the Airworthiness Directive (AD) until Oct. 5. "We are issuing this AD to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnection of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions, and reversion to flight control alternate law and consequent increased pilot workload. Depending on the prevailing airplane altitude and weather, this condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the airplane," according to the notice published in the Federal Register.

Mexico ATM

Thales said it completed the fourth phase of Mexico’s nationwide air-traffic modernization program for Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano (SENEAM), the country’s Air Navigation Service Provider.

The fourth phase of the program, which Thales started in 2004, involved the upgrade of sites at Mazatlan, Hermosillo, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose and Tijuana airports. Mexican air-traffic control centers are now operating with the Thales Eurocat ATM system, a modular automation system that controls aircraft through departure, enroute and approach phases. Thales said it has upgraded 16 air-traffic control units and will provide training for SENEAM through the life of its contract.

FOD Partnership

Thales in August announced a partnership with Xsight Systems Ltd., Rosh Haayin, Israel, under which Thales will globally market Xsight’s FODetect debris detection system, a sensor and processing system that detects and characterizes foreign objects found on airport movement surfaces.

The FODetect system is under evaluation at Boston Logan International Airport. The system includes a centralized data processing system that detects debris, generates alerts and provides tools to investigate detections.

Thales said it will market FODetect as a stand-alone system as well as integrated into its Eurocat-S A-SMGCS processing and display system. Eurocat-S is deployed at more that 15 airports, including Frankfurt and Munich in Germany; New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA), and Toulouse and Lyon in France.

Fokker GNSS

Fokker Services, Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands, will upgrade Fokker 100s operated by Skywest Airlines of Perth, Australia, with an integrated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

Skywest’s upgraded Fokker 100s will be able to fly GPS-aided approaches that meet RNP 0.3 requirements. Use of RNP capability is also possible with departure and enroute tracks.

"The installation of the GNSS system will allow us to increase our capacity and it will create many other exciting new developments in the Western Australian resources sector," said Jeff Chatfield, Skywest executive chairman. "GNSS will give us the enhanced capability to increase the number of overall flights per day and allows us to land at night at the remote and unattended airfields typical of the major mining operations."

Fokker Services, part of Stork Aerospace, estimates there are 700 operational Fokker aircraft worldwide.

SESAR Research

Northrop Grumman, as one of four member companies of the North European Air Traffic Management Industry Group (NATMIG), was awarded contracts worth $18.7 million from the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) for air-traffic management research.

Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, based in Oslo and Horten, Norway, and Peterborough, U.K., will conduct research on enhanced surface and air routing, guidance and enhanced tools for conflict detection and resolution.

The SCAT 1 satellite landing system currently in operation in Norway will form the basis for further development to a fully global ground-based augmentation system (GBAS), the company said. The contract is due for completion by 2016. NATMIG was founded in 2007 by Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, Airtel of Ireland, Saab of Sweden and SINTEF of Norway. The four member companies are equal shareholders.

CSeries Recorders

L-3 Aviation Recorders, Sarasota, Fla., was selected by Bombardier Aerospace to supply voice and flight data recording systems for the new Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

L-3 said its cockpit voice system for the CSeries will provide high-fidelity flight crew voice recording and the capability to record digital air traffic and ground control data messages in accordance with latest standards. The flight data recording system will record at the highest data rates currently specified for new-design aircraft.

The CSeries, slated to enter service in 2013, consists of the 110-seat CS100 and 130-seat CS300 aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1000G engine. Bombardier in August announced the delivery of the first test article, a fuselage test barrel, to its Saint-Laurent, Quebec, facility. The test barrel, representative of the main fuselage section of the CSeries, was built by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in Dalian, China.

PCB Acquisition

PCB Piezotronics, Depew, N.Y., acquired a "substantial portion" of assets and intellectual property from RS Technologies Ltd., of Farmington, Hills, Mich., a supplier of load cells, torque transducers, wheel force transducers and fastening/assembly test equipment to the automotive, aerospace, power tool and heavy equipment industries.

The acquisition was completed through PCB Load & Torque, a wholly owned subsidiary of PCB Piezotronics, which will own and operate the newly acquired business.

PCB Load & Torque will operate from the existing RS Technologies headquarters and employ many of the company’s production, engineering and support staff.

PCB Piezotronics was founded in 1967 as a manufacturer of piezoelectric quartz sensors, accelerometers and associated electronics for the measurement of dynamic pressure, force and vibration.

In-Flight 3G

TriaGnoSys GmbH, of Wessling, Germany, said it demonstrated its in-flight 3G solution and onboard satellite communications manager to European airlines under the European Commission-supported E-Cab project.

The demonstration was given to airlines, airports, manufacturers and service providers at the Airbus Cabin Test Center in Hamburg as part of the final stage of E-Cab, or E-enabled Cabin and Associated Logistic for Improved Passenger Services and Operational Efficiency.

TriaGnoSys’ 3G system provides passenger and crew communications. The communications manager controls all satellite-based passenger, cabin crew and in-flight entertainment (IFE) data communications to and from the aircraft during flights.

E-Cab focused on the development of improved services in four different services areas: moving people through airports, passenger services, freight handling and catering. The project developed technology to interconnect all four areas to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

"E-Cab has developed the technology to connect a range of key services, each of which will make air transport better for passengers and more efficient for airlines and airports in their own right," said Reiner Rueckwald, Airbus E-Cab project manager. "The successful completion of this project paves the way for the European aviation industry to provide a step change in the passenger service it provides and the efficiencies it can achieve."

The E-Cab partners were: Airbus, ASCOM, B&W, Bucher, Cranfield University, Dansk Teknologi, Dassault, Diehl, EADS, Giunti Labs, IBERlog, Identec Solutions, Jettainer, LAAS, MIL, OnAir, Rheinmettal, Robotiker, Selex, Siemens, SITA, Terma, Thales Avionics, Thales U.K., TNO, TriaGnoSys, TZI, Ultra Electronics and the University of Malta.

Contracts

  • CSC, based in Falls Church, Va., was awarded a $162 million, 30-month contract from NASA to continue to provide aviation services through the Johnson Space Center Aircraft Maintenance and Modification Program. Under the agreement, CSC will provide maintenance and modification services for aircraft supporting NASA programs, which include two Boeing 747s designed to transport the Space Shuttle, several Gulfstream jets modified to simulate the flight characteristics of the Space Shuttle and NASA’s T-38 trainers. CSC said it will also provide flight operations, technical data management and T-38 Depot Maintenance Services as required by the agency.

  • Northrop Grumman was awarded a $98.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the Expeditionary Litening Pod (LPOD) precision targeting and sensor system, upgrades to existing pods and integration of LPODs. The contract calls for integrating the pods on AV-8B Harriers, F/A-18 Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers, C-130 Hercules and Air Force platforms, including related parts and services.

  • CSSI, Inc., of Washington, D.C., was awarded the Safety Management Services (SMS II) contract from FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. The contract covers one base year with four option years and has a total potential value of $20.5 million, CSSI said. The SMS program concentrates on integrating safety and risk management into daily operations. CSSI also was awarded a five-year, $9.5 million contract to work with FAA and ICAO on vertical, lateral and longitudinal separation standards for air traffic. Under the contract, CSSI will provide RVSM altitude-monitoring services in North America, and support the reduction of lateral and longitudinal separation standards in Arctic and North Atlantic airspace. CSSI also will support FAA’s representatives to the ICAO Separation and Airspace Safety Panel, an international group developing global aircraft separation requirements.

  • BVR Systems, which was recently acquired by Elbit Systems, signed $14 million in maintenance and training contracts with undisclosed partners for mission trainer systems and maintenance and support services, including support and spare parts for its EHUD Autonomous Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation system, an air-to-air, air-to-ground and electronic warfare training system.

  • Honeywell signed an $11 million contract with Hainan Airlines of China to provide Auxiliary Power Units and a 10-year maintenance program for 13 new Airbus A320s. The contract with Hainan Airlines applies to new Airbus A320 aircraft ordered by Hainan, with deliveries scheduled from 2010 through 2012, and covers maintenance through 2022.

  • Lockheed Martin was awarded a $7.3 million modified contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide software and hardware updates as required for the F-16 avionics test station located at the 46th Test Squadron’s Data Links Test Facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

  • GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms received a $2.25 million order from Lockheed Martin’s Eagan, Minn., facility to provide its VME-7809 VMEbus single board computer and NETernity RM921 Ethernet switches for the Lockheed Martin AN/UYQ-70 C4 (command, control, communications and computer) system. Q-70 standard computer systems are used by the U.S. Navy on a variety of ships, aircraft and shore stations.

  • Orbit International Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y., received a $525,000 contract from a "global defense prime contractor" for a suite of products designed to support a Foreign Military Sale upgrade program for the P-3C Orion. The upgrades include keyboard, trackball, radar control unit/cockpit control units and spares. Deliveries are set to begin in the fourth quarter.

  • Thales received an order from Australian Aerospace to upgrade the night vision capability of its TopOwl Helmet-Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) Display Modules fitted to the Australian army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters. The TopOwl HMSD links the pilot directly to the helicopter’s armaments, night vision and navigation systems.

  • Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X) began operating at Newark Liberty and Boston Logan international airports, respectively the 18th and 19th airports equipped in the United States. The runway incursion detection and alerting system from Sensis Corp., Syracuse, N.Y., is being rolled out to 35 major U.S. airports.

  • Panasonic Avionics Corp., of Lake Forest, Calif., signed a 10-year agreement with SIA Engineering Company for Maintenance Services (MS). Panasonic is providing in-flight entertainment and communication (IFEC) maintenance services for the Singapore Airlines fleet over 10 years. Panasonic currently provides IFEC systems to Singapore Airlines entire fleet. With this agreement, Panasonic’s MS team serves as a central point of communication for daily IFEC maintenance, providing real-time updates on aircraft tail performance, scheduling preventive maintenance actions and detecting any recurring issues.

  • Sagem Avionics, Grand Prairie, Texas, announced a contract with VivaAerobus, Monterrey, Mexico, for its e-AGS Flight Operations Quality Assurance service. The service provides the airline with flight data analysis for its 737-300s.

  • Panasonic Avionics Corp. opened a regional headquarters in Hong Kong to support the "rapidly expanding in-flight entertainment and communications market in China," the company said.

  • BAE Systems delivered the first Airborne Wide Area Persistent Surveillance Sensor to the U.S. Army. The airborne persistent surveillance system integrates high-resolution, visible electro-optic and infrared imaging subsystems into a stabilized turret that can continuously record details of activities on the ground.

  • Rockwell Collins was selected by the U.K. Ministry of Defence to provide additional FireStorm targeting systems. The system, which includes a tablet PC, Laser Range Finder, real-time video receiver, Azimuth Augmentation system, Defense Advanced GPS receiver and tactical radio, enables ground personnel to operate with airborne assets.

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