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Saturday, April 1, 2006

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Netherlands CH-47F Upgrade

The Netherlands Ministry of Defense has chosen Honeywell's avionics control and management system (ACMS) for a fleet of new and existing Boeing CH-47F Chinooks. Boeing has granted Honeywell approval to begin work on the production preparation agreement (PPA) phase of the modernization project. The ACMS units for the CH-47Fs will feature multifunction displays, electronic flight instruments, an air data computer, embedded GPS, weather radar, communications, digital moving map and guidance navigation. The units also will come with integrated air vehicle and mission processors, radio interface via secure satcom and night vision capability through a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system. Development of the ACMS will occur at Honeywell's Defense and Space facility in Albuquerque, N.M., and integration into the CH-47Fs will take place at Boeing's Philadelphia complex. The contract calls for full production to start in 2006 with aircraft deliveries beginning in 2008. Shown here is an early mockup of the CH-47F displays. Visit www.honeywell.com.

Automatic Fault Diagnosis

NASA has named five prime contractors to support flight critical systems research for its aircraft condition analysis and management system (ACAMS) program. A prototype version of the system, which automatically diagnoses aircraft faults prior to failure, is being developed by ARINC for NASA's Langley Research Center. It is being tested on NASA's Boeing 757 research aircraft. ARINC Engineering Services (AES), Seattle-based Boeing Phantom Works, Honeywell's avionics unit in Minneapolis, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas, and Rannoch Corp. of Alexandria, Va., are the prime contractors. Those five companies will compete for NASA task orders covering avionics systems; flight critical systems development and integration; crew systems; and flight dynamics, guidance and control for the ACAMS. The task orders are worth up to $35 million over five years. ARINC says it has chosen the following organizations for its AES bid: Analytical Systems and Materials, AeroTech Research, Calspan, Drexel University, EmbeddedPlus Engineering, Luna Innovations, Pennsylvania State University, Scientific Systems Co., Symetrics Industries, TechnoSciences, United Airlines and Wyle Laboratories. Visit www.arinc.com.

GE-Condor Deal

GE Fanuc Embedded Systems has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of Condor Engineering, Santa Barbara, Calif., an avionics interface solutions provider. The transaction, which is expected to close no later than April 15, 2006, covers Condor's entire product set, says Lisa East, product marketing director for GE Fanuc Embedded Systems, Huntsville, Ala. This comprises four major product areas: test and simulation interfaces, including Mil-Std-1553, ARINC, avionics full duplex switched (AFDX) Ethernet, and miniature munitions system interface (MMSI) offerings; rugged grade, embedded interfaces; embedded intellectual property (IP) CORE products; and software applications and tools. The product lines of Condor and GE Fanuc are complementary, so the deal will be a good fit, according to both sides. GE customers will be able to get processor and interface components from a single source, says Condor President John Gerngross, who launched his company in 1989 from a spare bedroom. The GE unit offers a range of embedded products, such as single board computers, expansion cards, input/output modules, Ethernet switches and software. GE Fanuc Embedded Systems is part of GE Fanuc Automation Americas, a joint venture between General Electric and Fanuc Ltd. of Japan. Visit www.gefanuc.com and www.condoreng.com.

ADS-B Advancements

East Syracuse, N.Y.-based Sensis Corp. has developed improvements to automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) security. ADS-B gives pilots the ability to broadcast position, velocity and associated information to air traffic controllers and other aircraft. Sensis has enhanced the system to include the ability to authenticate ADS-B transmissions, encrypt data traffic and receive more data. The company also has developed a modified ADS-B system that allows aircraft to exchange turbulence and weather data with other airplanes and ground controllers. Sensis says the modified ADS-B may be able to serve as the ADS-X data link, a future data link that would enable 4D trajectory negotiation. Several industry groups are examining ADS-X.

Sensis also is adding its surface movement radar (SMRi) to its advanced-surface movement guidance and control system (A-SMGCS). SMRi detects and tracks other aircraft and vehicles on the surface of an airport in all weather conditions. SMRi also can be integrated into an airport's surveillance system. FAA has ordered the Sensis units for the 12 airports that use the agency's Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X. Bradley International, Windsor Locks, Conn., was the first airport to receive SMRi. Visit www.sensis.com.

Network Centric Research

In five flight tests conducted in early February, researchers from Boeing Phantom Works and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) demonstrated improvements to the way aircraft exchange data with each other and the ground. The tests used Boeing's modified F-15E1 advanced technology demonstrator.

The technologies displayed include algorithms known as intelligent software agents, which autonomously deduce and execute actions, allowing aircraft to transmit information in real time. For instance, platforms such as the F-15 can pull the locations of friendly forces, unmanned air vehicles and potential targets from the global information grid (GIG), a network being developed by U.S. defense and intelligence agencies. Visit www.boeing.com.

Standby Instrument

Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn., has selected L-3 Avionics Systems' GH-3100 electronic standby instrument system (ESIS) to install in the cockpit of an S-92 helicopter. The ESIS is designed to replace electromechanical standby attitude, airspeed and altitude instruments. It provides heading, slip/skid and vertical speed functions, as well as navigation data. The device features an integrated air data sensor card and an active matrix liquid crystal display. Visit www.l-3com.com/as.

Flight Management System

K?based low-cost carrier Germanwings will install several Thales TopFlight avionics products on 18 new Airbus A319s scheduled for delivery this summer. The A319s will be equipped with the flight management system Thales developed with Smiths Aerospace and the terrain and traffic collision avoidance system (T2CAS) it designed with ACSS.

Thales also will install multimode receivers, Mode S transponders, VHF data radios, dual distance radio magnetic indicators, radio altimeters, pitot probes, angle-of- attack sensors, emergency locator transmitters, and air traffic control/traffic alert and collision avoidance system control panels. Featuring a full glass cockpit with liquid crystal matrix displays, the Germanwings aircraft also will have electronic standby instruments, electronic instrument systems and multifunctional control display units. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.

Surveillance and Tracking

In partnership with the U.S. Air Force and Army, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is improving the military's ability to locate and track friendly ground forces, using Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft. Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Blue Force Tracking provides air and ground forces with the ability to see the entire battlefield by depicting the locations of friendly soldiers and known positions of enemy units. Northrop Grumman says the technology will help decrease incidents of fratricide. Modifications have begun on several aircraft under the $19-million contract. The company expects the entire Joint STARS fleet to be updated by the end of the year. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.

Electronic Flight Bags

Singapore Airlines plans to add Boeing Class III electronic flight bags (EFBs) on its fleet of new and existing B777s. The carrier has 58 of the aircraft in service and another 19 on order. Each of the EFB installation kits includes two pilot displays in the cockpit made by Astronautics Corp. of America and two electronic processors. They also include video surveillance equipment, a network file server and a terminal wireless local area network (LAN) unit from Boeing. Software consists of the Boeing Electronic Logbook and a taxi positional awareness moving map from Jeppesen. Boeing will fit the kits on the 19 new 777-300ERs in November 2006 and plans to start work on the retrofit 777s in February 2007, completing all work in December 2007. Visit www.boeing.com.

Signals Intelligence

BAE Systems has demonstrated the sensor system of its vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). During a test early this year at Fort Benning, Ga., the company integrated the UAS' signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload, WolfPack, into the DARPA Network Centric Experiment demonstration.

WolfPack uses unattended sensors to detect and disrupt enemy radio transmissions while keeping friendly communications intact. Preston Marshall, DARPA program manager, says the demonstration shows that unattended sensors can operate autonomously and "that they can be made to be self-deploying, self-relocating and, if needed, self-recovering." Visit www.baesystems.com.

Cockpit Display

L-3 Communications' Display Systems has selected Belgium-based display provider, Barco, to become a member of a team working on the panoramic cockpit display (PCD) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Under the agreement, which is based on a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics contract, Barco joins the international integrated product development team that will design, test and manufacture the PCD. The contract potentially is worth more than $15 million to Barco over the life of the JSF program. Visit www.barco.com.

Wireless Link

Eastern European carrier Czech Airlines has ordered Los Angeles-based Teledyne Controls' wireless quick access recorder (WQAR) and Wireless GroundLink service for its fleet of new Airbus A320s. The airline will use the WQAR to automate its flight data recording and transmission process. The device will record and transmit data to a ground station. AirFASE, a software-based flight data analysis and reporting tool developed by Teledyne Controls and Airbus, then will complete the flight data replay, analysis and reporting functions.

Air One, an Italian airline, also has chosen the WQAR for 30 Airbus A320s it has on order. Air One also will equip those aircraft with Teledyne Controls' flight data interface management unit (FDIMU), a data acquisition and recording system. The FDIMU will allow the carrier to collect mandatory information and aircraft condition monitoring system (ACMS) data from the aircraft. Visit www.teledyne.com.

Weather Service

ENSCO Inc., Falls Church, Va., has landed separate contracts to provide data support for the National Weather Service (NWS) and United Airlines. The NWS subcontract calls for ENSCO to serve on a team that operates, maintains and continues to develop the agency's Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). AWIPS is a main component of the NWS warning system that provides alerts about severe weather conditions in the United States. Raytheon Information Solutions of Reston, Va., is leading the NWS team on the 10-year contract, which is valued at up to $300 million.

ENSCO's Aerospace Sciences and Engineering division in Cocoa Beach, Fla., will supply full weather support for United Airlines under a five-year contract. Visit www.ensco.com.

Collision Avoidance

Phoenix-based ACSS, a joint company of L-3 Communications and Thales, has obtained FAA technical standard order (TSO) authorization for its TCAS 3000. The traffic alert collision avoidance system's first use will be on the Dassault Falcon 7X business jet. TCAS 3000, a third-generation TCAS II product, will be hosted on ACSS' surveillance processor. The processor's design can accommodate additional avionics systems, including terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), Mode S transponder and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B). Visit www.l-3com.com/acss.

HUMS

Honeywell's VXP health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) is now available as an option on the Eurocopter EC 135. The system, which records, monitors and diagnoses data from multiple sensors, has onboard sensors and a data processor--the acquisition unit--that use algorithms to calculate specific maintenance suggestions. Visit www.honeywell.com.

Infrared Camera

DRS Technologies, Parsippany, N.J., has received $33 million in U.S. Army contracts to support its mast mounted sight (MMS) surveillance system aboard a fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. Awarded by the Army's Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., the contract covers repair, field service support and spares for the MMS equipment.

Work on the OH-58Ds has begun at the DRS Optronics unit in Melbourne, Fla., and will continue through 2008. The MMS is an electro-optical system that uses visible light and infrared sensors, including a high-resolution television camera, thermal imaging sensor and laser range finder, to gather images in battlefield situations. Visit www.drs.com.

Active Stick

As part of the U.S. Army's UH-60M Black Hawk program, Sikorsky has picked BAE Systems to develop an active pilot interceptor system for the helicopter. Once designed, the collective and cyclic control system will replace mechanical pilot controls, such as rods and bellcranks, on existing Black Hawks and be integrated with the helicopter's fly-by-wire system. BAE Systems also will install the system on new UH-60Ms, beginning with the 150th production Black Hawk. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Product Certification

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued technical standard orders (TSOs) for Avidyne's upgraded 6.0 version of its Entegra flightdeck and EX500 multifunction display (MFD). The TSO for Entegra allows supplemental type certificates (STCs) to be issued for aircraft flying with the latest version of the integrated flightdeck. The EX500 TSO also enables specific STCs on aircraft equipped with the MFD. Visit www.avidyne.com.

In-Flight Entertainment

British Airways has contracted Rockwell Collins to upgrade its Total Entertainment System (TES) with audio/video on demand (AVOD), a digital news service and an audio jukebox. The agreement covers existing TES systems on 57 Boeing 747s, 25 B777s and 14 B767s. Completion of the project is set for December 2007. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Common Avionics

The U.S. Army's Aviation Engineering Directorate has issued an airworthiness release for Rockwell Collins' Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), an upgrade for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's Boeing MH-47Gs. The helicopter is the first of several rotary-wing platforms to receive a production airworthiness release.

Rockwell Collins initially developed the system for the MH-47 and MH-60 helicopters. The company also will supply CAAS units for Boeing's CH-47F and UH-60M, Bell's RAH-70 and Sikorsky's CH-53E, HH-60T and VH-60N. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Flight Trainers

Burnsville, Minn.-based Aerosim Technologies is supplying its flight management system trainer (FMST) for two Japanese airlines. Japan Airlines of Tokyo has ordered a dual-screen FMST for the Boeing 737-800. Air Nippon (ANK) will receive a B737-700 FMST, as well as Aerosim's virtual flightdeck (VFD). ANK will use the simulators at its training center in Tokyo. The FMST allows pilots to review FMS, autopilot, electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS) and navigation procedures, and includes a lesson plan editor. The VFD gives students the use of all panels, controls, indicators and displays in the flightdeck on a single screen. Visit www.aerosim.com.

Briefs

Nav System

The U.S. Air Force has selected Northrop Grumman's LN-260 fiber optic gyro inertial navigation system as an upgrade for the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.

Modernization

As part of a project to update Kent State University's training aircraft, Cessna dealer Eastern Cincinnati Aviation has delivered two Skyhawks equipped with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. Visit www.flyeca.com.

Acquisition

Kellstrom Industries, Miramar, Fla., has acquired High Tech Avionics & Accessories of Miami, which specializes in repair and overhaul of Airbus and Boeing avionics systems. Visit www.kellstrom.com.

Assets Purchase

Rockwell Collins has agreed to buy the simulation assets of Evans & Sutherland, Salt Lake City. Evans & Sutherland will retain its planetarium and laser projector segments. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Flight Simulator

Sabena Flight Academy plans to issue a request for proposals for a Boeing 737NG full flight simulator at its training center in Arizona. Visit www.sfa.be.

Training

JetBlue Airways has chosen Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to train its flight instructors. Visit www.erau.edu and www.jetblue.com.

Collier Award

Eclipse Aviation has received the 2005 Robert J. Collier Award for the Eclipse 500. The award is administered by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Visit www.eclipseaviation.com.

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