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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Industry Scan

MILITARY

Curtiss-Wright Division

Curtiss-Wright Controls announced the formation of a Defense Solutions business group, combining its Embedded Computing and Electronics Systems businesses to better address the industry’s need for more cost-efficient commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) systems.

The new Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS), headquartered in Ashburn, Va., will offer a more tightly integrated approach, combining the intellectual property of the two groups to provide a more unified face to customers and to the industry, company executives said in a Webinar on Jan. 9.

“We are very excited about how the combined capabilities and technology of these two successful and talented groups will enable us to reach new heights by shaping our markets and meeting our customers ever increasing demands,” said Lynn Bamford, senior vice president and general manager of CWCDS. “Our team of strong leaders will focus our combined strengths on supporting our customers, enabling us to achieve much more together than we could as separate groups.”

The company said the move will also help it adhere to the Department of Defense’s call for more cost-efficient strategies by adding new capabilities to existing platforms.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm that we can make one plus one equal three,” Bamford said in the Webinar.

The new division also allows the company to comply with military initiatives focusing on increasing the procurement of open-standards based high Technology Readiness Level hardware to reduce costs and increase interoperability for rugged subsystems deployed in harsh combat environments.

Boeing to Close Facility

Boeing it will close its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) facility in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, the company announced in January. The Wichita facility currently employs more than 2,160 employees.

“The decision to close our Wichita facility was difficult but ultimately was based on a thorough study of the current and future market environment and our ability to remain competitive while meeting our customers’ needs with the best and most affordable solutions,” said Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for BDS’ Maintenance, Modifications & Upgrades division. “We recognize how this will affect the lives of the highly skilled men and women who work here, so we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community through this difficult transition.”

Boeing Wichita is the base for the company’s Global Transport & Executive Systems business and its B-52 and 767 International Tanker programs. The facility also provides support for flight mission planning and integrated logistics.

During the past five years, contracts in Wichita have matured, programs have come to a close or are winding down, and the site does not have enough sustainable business on the horizon to create an affordable cost structure to maintain and win new business, Boeing said.

“In this time of defense budget reductions, as well as shifting customer priorities, Boeing has decided to close its operations in Wichita to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and drive competitiveness,” said Bass. “We will begin program transitions in the coming months, with the complete closure of the site scheduled for the end of 2013. We do not anticipate job reductions as a result of this decision until early in the third quarter of 2012.”

Future aircraft maintenance, modification and support work will be placed at the Boeing facility in San Antonio. Engineering work will be placed at the Boeing facility in Oklahoma City. Although work on the KC-46 tanker will now be performed in Puget Sound, Wash., the 24 Kansas suppliers on the program will be providing vital elements of the aircraft as originally planned.

KC-390 Suppliers

Embraer Defense and Security announced more contractors for its KC-390 military transport aircraft.

ACSS, a joint venture of L-3 Communications and Thales, was selected to provide its T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite. The T3CAS for the KC-390 features an integrated Traffic Alert & Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Mode S Transponder.

The TCAS includes the latest Change 7.1 software, and the Mode S Transponder is certified to DO-260B capability, which enables the highest level of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transmission.

In addition to the integrated TCAS and transponder in the T3CAS, Embraer can also opt to put other ACSS capabilities onto the KC-390, including an additional Mode S Transponder, a Mode S-Identification Friend or Foe Transponder, and Military Airborne Surveillance System.

Additionally, Esterline Control Systems was chosen to supply rudder pedal stations, flap selectors, speed brake LRUs, landing gear levers, wheel tiller and autobrake switch control panels

Marketed under the Mason brand name, Esterline will be designing and manufacturing the controls in its Sylmar, Calif., facility. The rudder pedals enable the pilot to control the aircraft yaw rotation, and are used for steering and braking the aircraft on the ground. The flap selectors allow the pilot to select and lock the appropriate flap angle during flight, and the speed brake lever actuates the spoilers to slow the aircraft. The landing gear lever is used to control the extension and retraction of the aircraft landing gear. The wheel tiller allows the pilot to steer the airplane on ground during the taxi phase. The auto-brake switch enables the pilot to pre-set the desired amount of braking force upon landing. It is also used to activate the brakes automatically in the event of a rejected take-off.

Other suppliers of the program include Elbit Systems (Self-Protection Suite, Directional Infrared Countermeasures, pilot orientation Head-Up Display and mission computer), Hamilton Sundstrand (Electric Power Generating System), BAE Systems (flight control electronics) and Rockwell Collins (Pro Line Fusion avionics suite).

The Brazilian Air Force has committed to purchasing 28 KC-390s. Embraer expects initial flight testing for the KC-390 to begin in 2014 with entry into service in 2016.

Mercury Acquisition

Mercury Computer Systems in January completed its acquisition of KOR Electronics, of Cypress, Calif., a supplier of digital RF memory technology used in a broad range of military aircraft. The acquisition also includes KOR’s wholly owned subsidiary, Paragon Dynamics. Financial terms of the all-cash transaction were not disclosed.

Mercury said the acquisition, which was announced on Dec. 30, will allow it to provide its prime contractor customers with “even more capabilities across the sensor processing chain. Specifically, KOR expands Mercury’s offerings with technology and customization expertise in the initial Acquire and Digitize stages of the sensor chain, as well as the Disseminate/Transmit stage.”

ENSCO Subsidiary

ENSCO, based in Falls Church, Va., is restructuring, forming a wholly owned avionics subsidiary, ENSCO Avionics, a move that will allow “these businesses to increase their concentration within their distinct market areas and better manage corporate liability,” according to the company.

“We are excited about this important realignment within the company to bring better focus and attention to these critical business areas. This allows us to reduce distractions and provide even better customer service, build company branding and offer a higher level of quality development and service to our growing base of customers,” said Greg Young, ENSCO’s president and CEO.

ENSCO Avionics provides safety- and mission-critical engineering, software, hardware engineering and vision systems solutions to the aerospace industry through specific focus on DO-178B, DO-254, SEAL and military standards.

This year, the company expanded its North American presence into the Canadian market by opening a new office in Montreal. The company has formed a wholly owned subsidiary, ENSCO Avionics Canada, that will provide engineering, products and services to the broad base of aerospace customers, both government and commercial, in Québec as well as throughout Canada.

UNMANNED SYSTEMS

CNPC Data Link

Rockwell Collins is collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) control and non-payload communications (CNPC) data link that will eventually enable unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace, the company announced in December.

“The reason we were selected is because we’re one of a few companies that have both commercial avionics experience and UAS data links in theater. It’s really the intersection of our core technologies,” said David Vos, senior director of UAS and Control Technologies at Rockwell Collins. “We know the challenges, we know how to certify avionics and we’re experts in military data links and waveform development.”

As a team member in the three-year NASA UAS Communications Research Sub-Project, Rockwell Collins will work with NASA engineers and subject matter experts to define the waveform for the CNPC data link. The results of this collaboration will help industry and FAA develop the appropriate set of rules and requirements for reliable unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system, according to Rockwell Collins.

CONTRACTS

Raytheon has been awarded an $80.8 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy in support of a Foreign Military Sale of the AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar to the Royal Australian Navy. ALFS is the primary undersea warfare sensor for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R multimission helicopter. The contract represents the first international sale of Raytheon’s advanced anti-submarine warfare sensor. ALFS provides critical undersea warfare mission support capabilities, including submarine detection, tracking, localization, classification, acoustic intercept, underwater communication and environmental data collection.

This contract modification follows two previously awarded contracts, totaling $141.5 million, for ALFS systems, spares and repairs for U.S. Navy inventory. The first contract, awarded by Naval Air Systems Command, was valued at $81.7 million for the manufacture, integration, testing and delivery of ALFS systems for the U.S. Navy. The second contract, from Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Strategic Acquisition, valued at $59.8 million, provided for spares and weapons replaceable assemblies for fleet-deployed systems, systems under test and helicopter maintenance trainer assets.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $66.6 million contract from the U.S. Army for AH-64D Apache modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot’s night vision sensor systems and spares for the Saudi Arabia National Guard. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of 2015.

➤ Israel-based Elbit Systems was awarded a $50 million contract to supply its Hermes 900 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to a governmental office of an undisclosed country in the Americas. The UAS will be operated in a variety of perimeter security missions. The project will be performed over about a year, according to the company. Elbit said the contract will include systems such as the Universal Ground Control Stations, Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop’s DCoMPASS payload systems, as well as satellite communication systems.

➤ The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $24 million contract to upgrade weapons systems trainers used in the C-130 Aircrew Training System (ATS) II.

The C-130 ATS II visual system will provide enhanced illumination in the cockpit, advanced visual scenes and the infrared-enabled night vision training.

The improvements are scheduled to take place through 2014.

General Dynamics C4 Systems received a $6.5 million order from FAA for more than 1,000 CM-300/350 series ultrahigh frequency (UHF) Air Traffic Control (ATC) radios. Used by air traffic controllers throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico and other territories, the radios provide critical ground-to-air communications for military pilots and crew. General Dynamics CM-300/350 UHF radios link air traffic controllers to military aircraft flying across the national airspace. Another model of the same radio, the CM-300/350 very high frequency (VHF) radios, enable air traffic control communications for commercial and general aviation aircraft. The new order is part of a 10-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract awarded to General Dynamics by FAA in 2002. All contract options have been exercised and the $100 million full potential value of the contract has been reached.

ITT Exelis received a $5.7 million multiyear award to produce 375 generator control modules for F/A-18 aircraft. Production will take place through January 2015. F/A-18 aircraft carry two of the modules, each controlling one side of the aircraft’s power requirements. In case of a power failure to one module, the other can pick up the entire aircraft’s power load. The contract, awarded by GE Aviation, will be completed by the Exelis Electronic Systems operation in North Amityville, N.Y.

Raytheon has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force to integrate Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) capability into its suite of APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders to support FAA’s NextGen plan. The U.S. Air Force must comply with FAA regulations, having ADS-B capability in the APX-119 transponders by 2020. The current schedule is to have them completed well before that time.

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