Thursday, January 1, 2009
ADS-B In Europe
Equipping for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in European airspace will be mandatory starting in 2015 — five years earlier than in the United States — under the European Commission’s Surveillance Performance and Interoperability Implementing Rule (SPI-IR).
A draft of the intended rule, published in early November, forms the basis for a three-month formal consultation period extending to Feb. 4. It is expected a final, definitive rule will be published toward the end of 2009.
Ongoing trials with 18 "pioneer airlines" and some 500 aircraft under Eurocontrol’s CASCADE program have demonstrated the utility and practicality of ADS-B.
Under the implementing rule, ADS-B in Europe will use 1090 MHz extended squitter (1090ES) as the preferred datalink technology for position broadcasts, ensuring global interoperability. ADS-B will be operated either in combination with radar (primary and secondary) and Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), or as a sole means of surveillance. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in October approved the use of ADS-B as a sole-source surveillance technique.
The rule covers secondary surveillance radar (SSR), 1090 MHz Mode S and ADS-B, so that aircraft equipped with appropriate transponders will be able to operate with all likely surveillance techniques. Airlines will be faced with only modest investment demands, requiring equipage with a suitable transponder, or in many cases simply a transponder upgrade, and direct Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver-transponder connection.
Initially, Europe’s system will be ADS-B "Out," enhancing surveillance for air-traffic controllers on the ground. Early implementations will be voluntary, taking place in "pocket areas" where radar coverage is non-existent or poor.
Initial implementation areas include Portugal, for airspace out to and including the Azores islands (operating alongside radar and WAM); the North Sea adjacent to the Netherlands (with WAM); and Kiruna, Sweden. Italy, Greece and Turkey have announced plans for implementation from 2009-2011. Germany has included ADS-B with WAM in its surveillance strategy and France, Malta and Cyprus reportedly were poised to do so.
After 2015, when equipage becomes mandatory, capability will be extended to provide air traffic situational awareness to pilots as well as ground controllers. Implementation of this ADS-B "In" functionality will take place voluntarily, to start with, in 2011. This will provide a platform for airborne separation assistance and ultimately will enable more of the responsibility for inter-aircraft separation to pass from controllers to pilots.
The draft implementation rule can be viewed at Eurocontrol’s CASCADE Web site. — George Marsh
Half of the flights at highly congested airports in Europe will risk delays or cancellations by 2030, according to a Eurocontrol report issued in December.
The study, "Challenges of Growth," finds demand for flights in Europe will rise from 10 million today to 20.4 million in 2030. Airports’ current plans to meet demand and expand capacity will only handle 18.1 million of those flights, leaving 2.3 million flights a year or 6,300 flights a day unaccommodated.
Airport congestion, as a result, will rise. By 2030, around 20 of the largest airports will be saturated, operating at full capacity, for eight hours or more a day. About half of every day’s flights will pass through one of these saturated airports, according to the report.
"Despite the economic downturn and a prospect of slower growth in the future — because of maturing European markets and higher fuel-related costs — demand in the longer term is still set to rise substantially," said David Marsh, Eurocontrol manager of forecasting and statistics.
The report also points to climate change as having an impact on delays, saying bouts of extreme weather will occur more frequently, bringing more disruptions to saturated airports.
President George W. Bush on Nov. 18 signed an executive order aimed at accelerating the NextGen air traffic modernization, as set forth in the Vision 100 Century of Reauthorization Act. The order calls upon the secretary of transportation to implement NextGen "in a safe, secure, timely, environmentally sound, efficient and effective manner."
Specifically, the secretary of the Department of Transportation (DoT) is to convene quarterly meetings of the NextGen Senior Policy Committee, consisting of secretaries of the involved agencies and the NASA administrator. Sixty days after the date of the order, a support staff is to be created within DoT; 180 days after the order, an advisory committee is to be formed to "provide advice to the secretary and, through the secretary, the committee concerning the implementation of the policy."
The order requires the Senior Policy Committee to deliver a progress report to the president, through the transportation secretary, at least every two years. The committee also will review proposals made by department heads to the Office of Management and Budget for programs involving NextGen.
At this writing, no successor had been announced to Mary E. Peters, the Bush administration transportation secretary. Among names mentioned, The Washington Post reported, were former deputy transportation secretary Mortimer Downey; former FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey; Steve Heminger, executive director of the San Francisco Bay-area Metropolitan Transportation Commission; and U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Rockwell Collins Layoffs
Rockwell Collins on Nov. 10 announced a multi-point plan to reduce costs, including 300 layoffs, to manage the impact of the economic downturn.
In a statement, Clayton Jones, chairman, president and CEO, cited declining air travel, government program delays and cancellations and the Boeing machinists’ strike as factors contributing to the reductions.
"We’ve had to make some very difficult decisions in order to align our infrastructure and spending to market realities," he said. "These carefully considered actions are critical to the long-term success of our company and balance the best interests of our customers, shareowners and employees."
A week earlier, the company reported net income for fiscal 2008 of $678 million, an increase 16 percent over FY2007, on revenue of $4.77 billion, up 8 percent.
Rockwell Collins said it will lay off 300 employees, primarily in operations, and reduce by 100 the number of contract laborers it uses in engineering functions — cuts representing 1.5 percent of its workforce.
Among other steps, the company will reduce discretionary spending, defer or eliminate open jobs and delay 2009 merit increases for management and the majority of employees for three months.
Funding for research and development in 2009, which has been reduced from the original budget, "will still grow modestly compared to 2008 to meet customer obligations and to maintain a competitive edge through innovation."
Thales was selected to supply the head-up display (HUD) for the Airbus A350XWB, the company announced in November.
The HUD, either in a single or dual configuration, will be available as a customer option in the A350 XWB catalogue from the first aircraft deliveries in 2013.
Thales said the HUD has been redesigned to increase head clearance, offering greater comfort to pilots, and to embed the graphical generation within the display units. The redesign reduces the weight of the system by about 35 pounds. The HUD will support new features such as enhanced vision and potentially surface guidance and synthetic vision systems.
Among other systems, Thales has been selected to provide the Interactive Control and Display System, Air Data and Inertial Reference Unit and components of the Avionics Full Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) network of the A350XWB.
In another recent A350XWB selection, Moog Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y., was chosen to produce the high-lift, trailing edge actuation system. Moog said it will supply the power control unit, inboard and outboard geared rotary actuators, gearboxes, wing tip brakes and other components.
Embedded software provider SYSGO AG, of Mainz, Germany, said its PikeOS real-time operating system was selected by Airbus for application on the A350XWB.
PikeOS, certified to DO-178B for safety-critical avionics, will be used for the Fly Smart with Airbus New Generation (FSA-NG) system, designed to provide pilots with access to applications and information during flight, as well as providing maintenance data.
SYSGO said key requirements of the system include a "soft" RTOS capable of supporting ARINC 653 partitioning, a secure, high-capacity Mass Storage Unit Cabinet, software segregation of application services and multi-purpose graphical modules to manage user access to applications through cockpit terminals.
"A thorough evaluation of the product took place, showing that the functionality and performance requirements were met," SYSGO said. "Because the flexibility of PikeOS offered the ability to do rapid prototyping on a PC, it was possible for Airbus to validate the final architecture with confidence."
Troubled aircraft manufacturer Eclipse Aviation on Nov. 25 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The company reported more than $1 billion in liabilities, with assets of between $100 million and $500 million.
The filing contained a pre-arranged agreement by which an affiliate of ETIRC Aviation, of Luxembourg, Eclipse’s largest shareholder, would acquire the company’s assets for a reported $198 million. But the proposed sale was subject to competitive bidding, with an auction planned in early January.
"In the face of unprecedented economic challenges, it is clear that the sale of the Eclipse business through the Chapter 11 process is the right course of action to maximize the value of the business, secure its future and protect the best interests of Eclipse’s stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees and creditors," said Eclipse CEO Roel Pieper.
Pieper, who is chairman of ETIRC Aviation, became Eclipse chairman last January and acting CEO in July.
Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse obtained provisional type certification from FAA of the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ) in July 2006, and delivered 245 aircraft through last August. But the program has been bedeviled by problems, including a management shake-up that saw Pieper replace founder Vern Raburn, hundreds of layoffs, an emergency airworthiness directive by FAA and congressional scrutiny of the aircraft’s certification.
Eclipse Aviation also sought approval from the bankruptcy court for debtor-in-possession financing from existing shareholders that it said would enable the company to resume "normal business operations" prior to the closing of a sale.
The company said a successful sale would position it for "aggressive global expansion," however, the potential outcome for some 40 suppliers appeared less positive.
"Local bankruptcy attorneys point out that suppliers likely will see pennies on the dollar owed them by Eclipse," reported The Albuquerque Journal. "The same holds true for buyers who have paid deposits for undelivered Eclipse 500 jets. And many investors are at risk of losing all of their money in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy."
Honeywell introduced what it says is the industry’s first flight management system (FMS) software to provide GPS-enabled flight information and compliance, including access to routes in congested air spaces and oceanic airways.
The FMS software versions 6.1 and 7.1 provide conformity for Required Navigation Performance Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP SAAAR) operations, Wide Area Augmentation System-Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (WAAS-LPV) reception and Future Air Navigation System (FANS-1/A).
The 6.1 software upgrade for aircraft with Honeywell’s FMZ-2000 flight management system and 7.1 upgrade for operators of the Primus Epic avionics suite will be available beginning in 2009 on select platforms, the company said.
Capabilities for "performance-based" navigation such as RNP are built into Honeywell’s next generation FMS, which is being launched on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and will be part of the Honeywell avionics on the new Gulfstream G650 long-range business jet.
Gulfstreams will be the only business jets with RNP SAAR capabilities and large-format, 15-inch displays, said Chad Cundiff, Honeywell Aerospace vice president of crew interface products. The company’s new Interactive Navigation (INAV) graphical flight-planning interface will be available on Gulfstream PlaneView and Dassault EASy flight decks, as well as on aircraft equipped with Honeywell’s Primus Apex suite.
"We’re using FMS in ways we never anticipated 20 years ago," Cundiff said. Business jets with the new capabilities "will be getting into places" where non-equipped aircraft will be prevented from flying, he said.
StandardAero, Winnipeg, Canada, will be the launch partner and generate the first supplemental type certificate (STC) for Honeywell’s DU-875 flight deck upgrade for the Falcon 900C and EX series business jets.
The upgrade will replace the existing Honeywell Primus 2000 DU-870 cathode ray tube (CRT) displays with new DU-875 LCDs. The upgrade program was announced at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Orlando, Fla.
StandardAero said the new displays have the same dimensions as the existing Primus 2000 displays, allowing for minimal installation down time. Because the existing display symbology and functionality is retained, minimal crew training will be required. The LCDs require less power than the current CRT displays, reducing heat, eliminating the need for forced air cooling and nearly doubling the reliability of the current CRTs. The LCD units yield a cumulative weight savings of up to 35 pounds.
The new displays will include a built-in Advanced File Graphics Server allowing the system to display electronic charts, maps, XM graphical weather and video, a capability not available with the current CRT displays.
John Bolton, Honeywell vice president, Business and General Aviation Aftermarket, said the DU-875 flight deck provides significant advantages over existing CRT displays and a path for future functionality, such as synthetic vision and enhanced navigation. StandardAero’s Designated Alteration Station in Springfield, Ill., will develop the STC, estimated for completion in late 2009.
France’s Dassault Aviation in November entered talks with Alcatel-Lucent to acquire the latter company’s 20.8 percent share in avionics manufacturer Thales.
The discussions were to extend to mid-December. The transaction, if approved, would increase Dassault’s stake in Thales to 25.96 percent.
In a statement, Thales said it is "satisfied to see Thales’s shareholder base well into the process of being clarified and stabilized. Thales’s management will bring its full contribution and support to the stakeholders during the finalization phase of the transaction, and up until its conclusion, in the best interest of the group and all its shareholders."
Rockwell Collins HGS
Rockwell Collins said its Model 5600E Head-Up Guidance System (HGS) was selected for the Embraer Lineage 1000 large business jet.
The company also announced at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in October that Dassault Aviation had received United States and European Category III certification of the its HGS-4860 system for the Dassault Falcon 2000EX. The latter aircraft joins the Falcon 900 and 2000 as Cat III certified.
The HGS-5600E is a derivative of the Rockwell Collins HGS-5600, certified for Cat III/Low Visibility Take Off (LVTO) capability on the Embraer 170 and 190 aircraft.
The LCD projection technology used in the HGS-5600E features improved brightness and image resolution for enhanced vision displays, a digital display interface and the capability to integrate multiple image sources while maintaining the primary flight symbology.
Rockwell Collins also made these announcements:
The company will offer a new line of high-definition (HD) displays for business jets, rounding out the capabilities of its Venue cabin management system. The new line of LCDs will be available in a range of sizes from 15 to 32 inches. They will be equipped to support High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and High Definition Serial Digital Interface (HD-SDI) inputs, as well as analog inputs for applications still relying on standard definition video. They will all be widescreen 16:9 format. A new 15-inch display will be available in April 2009, debuting on the Hawker King Air 350i. Large displays will be available by the fall of 2009.
The company will offer Blu-ray Disc players for business jets as part of its Venue cabin management system, beginning in the fall of 2009. The new disc player provides 1080p high-definition Blu-ray movie playback with surround sound, and is backward compatible with standard definition DVDs and audio CDs. The player is fully compliant with the BD-Live specification (also known as BD Profile 2.0) as outlined by the Blu-ray Disc Association, Rockwell Collins said. BD-Live supports the ability to connect the player directly to the Internet for accessing interactive features and supplemental movie content.
Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S), Exton, Pa., announced the "Vantage" display system, a new addition to its product line designed for business aircraft. The system is available in two or three 10.4-inch flat-panel display architectures.
The Vantage solution allows operators to upgrade their aircraft to a new flat-panel display system while leaving existing third-party avionics installed in the aircraft, minimizing the cost of the upgrade, IS&S said.
The system includes Radio/Navigation Converter Units, which convert analog signals into dual digital ARINC 429 outputs, as well as Engine Data Concentrator Units, which output information to the display units for graphical presentation. Control is provided through a bezel mounted button and knob control system, designed to be the pilot and co-pilot’s main interface to the system.
Options include Class 3 e-charts provided by Jeppesen, enhanced vision, XM Satellite Weather and on-board cabin video.
"The aviation industry is constantly looking for ways to increase the safety and functionality of its cockpits, and we believe we’ve introduced a critical piece to this puzzle with the IS&S Vantage," said IS&S President Roman Ptakowski.
King Air EFB
Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS), Wichita, Kan., developed a supplemental type certificate to install the DAC International Gen-X electronic flight bag (EFB) in most King Air turboprops. The STC will hard mount the Gen-X display as a Class 3 device and support single and dual installations, HBS said.
The Gen-X EFB features a touchscreen interface, active matrix display and 40 gigabyte hard drive capable of storing and displaying aircraft technical information, electronic charts, graphical weather and other applications, including enhanced vision. Operators will have a choice between JeppView or Maptech electronic charts, XM or WSI graphical weather and the entire Hawker Beechcraft electronic technical publication library.
The Gen-X STC is expected to be available for first quarter 2009 installation at HBS locations. DAC International, based in Austin, Texas, will cover repair and replacement of parts under a standard five-year parts warranty.
DAC International said its Gen-X Class 3 electronic flight bag (EFB) has been approved for Class 2 installation in Embraer Regional Jets.
"This Embraer STC installs Gen-X under the FAA Class 2 requirements," said Mike Crouch, DAC International president. "Operators will enjoy the benefits of a full Class 3 device with the added flexibility of a removable installation."
Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, Mass., said its MLX770 Satellite Datalink Transceiver received system certification by Iridium Satellite LLC, giving Avidyne the authority to operate on the Iridium satellite network.
Introduced in 2008, the MLX770 transceiver will provide datalink weather services to aircraft equipped with Avidyne’s Entegra and EX500 multifunction displays, via Avidyne’s Network Operations Center. Initial shipments of the MLX770 were expected to begin in the fourth quarter 2008.
In a companion announcement at the NBAA convention, WSI Corp., Andover, Mass., said it had partnered with Avidyne to provide weather content for the MLX770 service, including Global METARs (Meteorological Aviation Reports) TAFs (Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts), lightning, winds and temperature aloft data.
The service will be compatible with both Avidyne displays and the WSI InFlight Display Client for electronic flight bags. Weather radar coverage has been expanded to include Europe and Australia.
Avidyne said the MLX770 also will provide two-way SMS text messaging from the airborne Avidyne MFD to any ground-based SMS-capable mobile phone or e-mail address. The price of the transceiver with antenna starts at $11,995. Service pricing is expected to average $70 to $120 per month based on 10 hours of flying.
EMS Satcom in October introduced the eNfusion AMT-700 High-gain Antenna (HGA) for SwiftBroadband at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention.
The new tail-mounted antenna, based on the AMT-50 HGA equipped on 1,400 aircraft, will provide higher gain than competing antennas of similar size and weight, said EMS Satcom. It is expected to commercially available next May.
The AMT-700 consists of two line replaceable units and weighs less than five pounds, making it the lightest of EMS Satcom’s eNfusion antennas. The antenna control functions have been integrated into the antenna package, offering more flexible installation.
The company says the AMT-700 is well suited for installation on smaller business jets such as the new Cessna Citation Columbus and the Embraer Legacy. The first available variant will be DC-powered, with an AC model to follow.
HGS Sensor System
CMC Electronics’ SureSight CMA-2600 I-Series Integrated Sensor System was selected by Rockwell Collins Head-up Guidance Systems (HGS) for the Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) on the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ).
The I-Series system will be integrated with Rockwell Collins’ HGS-4000 Head-up Guidance System and offered to all current and future operators of Boeing 737-based BBJs. Certification by HGS of the EFVS as a supplemental type certificate is anticipated in 2009.
The CMC SureSight I-Series Sensor System is integrated with HGS-4860/5860 Head-Up Guidance System and offered to all Dassault Falcon 2000 EASy Series and 900 EASy Series operators, and will soon be offered to Dassault F7X operators. CMC’s SureSight CMA-2600 Integrated Sensor System is also in use by Thales/Bombardier on the Global Express.
Project Phoenix, a Dubai-based aircraft conversion company launched in 2007, selected CMC Electronics’ PilotView electronic flight bag (EFB) and its SureSight M-Series Enhanced Vision System (EVS) sensor as optional equipment on its CRJ-200s converted into business aircraft.
The PilotView EFB will function as a stand-alone system and as a display for the M-Series EVS sensor. The M-Series infrared-based EVS sensor, which weighs 2.2 pounds, and measures 2.4 inches by 2.5 inches by 6 inches in length, allows pilots to see better at night and in low-visibility situations.
The LCR-100 Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) developed by Northrop Grumman LITEF GmbH, of Freiburg, Germany, has achieved FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification, the company said in October.
The certification covers several IFR-certified business aircraft, regional jets and helicopters, the company said.
The LCR-100 consists of an attitude heading reference unit, which accepts GPS position and velocity data, a calibration programmable read-only memory device and a mounting tray. A "gyro-compassing" capability enables the unit to establish precise heading within moments, without the use of a magnetic flux valve or magnetometer. The LCR-100 also offers a hybrid navigation mode, permitting the aircraft to navigate when GPS is not available.
"Our new LCR-100 offers commercial airframe manufacturers increased navigational accuracy and reliability, which enhances overall aircraft performance, and underscores Northrop Grumman’s continuing commitment to the commercial marketplace," said Norbert Sandner, Northrop Grumman LITEF director of marketing and sales.
Gulfstream Aerospace introduced "PlaneBook for the Cabin," a new addition to the company’s PlaneBook electronic document manager (EDM). PlaneBook for the Cabin is a tablet computer preloaded with manuals and lists developed for cabin attendants.
Available documents include a cabin operating manual, cabin troubleshooting index, cabin checklist, suggested inventory list, entertainment and galley equipment operating manuals, and passenger profile forms.
The system is available for in-production, large-cabin Gulfstream G550, G500, G450 and G350 aircraft.
PlaneBook for Pilots was introduced for large-cabin Gulfstreams at the NBAA conference in 2007. Gulfstream then offered it to operators of mid-cabin aircraft in June 2008.
PlaneBook uses a Windows-based Fujitsu FG-1620G tablet computer with 512 megabytes of RAM and a 30-gigabyte hard drive. Customers can upgrade to a higher RAM speed (1 gigabyte), include a larger hard drive (60 gigabytes) or add a USB global positioning satellite system, Gulfstream said.
‘R44 Grand’ Displays
FAA granted a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of a two-display configuration of the Sagem Avionics Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) in the Robinson R44 helicopter. The glass panel solution has since been renamed "R44 Grand" by the owner of the helicopter and STC holder ASAP Avionics, of Vancouver Island, Canada.
The R44 Grand solution includes two AMLCD 8-inch displays mounted in portrait mode. The system integrates primary flight instruments, engine instruments and other multifunction display system functions such as enhanced vision when linked to a camera, and Terrain Obstacle Proximity System.
ASAP Avionics’ installation replaces the entire integrated pedestal, reducing down time and cost for follow-on installations, the company said.
Green Hills Software in November said its Integrity-178B real-time operating system (RTOS) became the first RTOS to be certified to Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 6+, the highest security level achieved for an operating system.
The certification by the National Information Assurance Partnership, a U.S. government initiative of the National Security Agency (NSA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology, culminated an evaluation of Integrity that officially started in 2005 and required Green Hills to turn over its source code to NSA for penetration testing.
Green Hills, Santa Barbara, Calif., said the EAL 6+ certification far exceeds the current security standard to which operating systems must comply, that of protecting against "inadvertent or casual attempts" to breach system security. "What it means is that we have the only secure operating system, and it’s not just us saying that," said Green Hills founder and CEO Dan O’Dowd. "We convinced the people that matter, with the NSA."
In a telephone interview with Avionics, O’Dowd described the process of achieving the certification. "What you have to do to get EAL6+ is you have to formally, mathematically prove that your system is secure," he said. "We hired a bunch of Ph.D.s to go through and prove every line of code. You have to write specific tests for every line of code, every specification — every unusual circumstance or condition has to be tested and verified that it works. And you have to turn all your source code over to the NSA and they have as long as they want to try to find bumps in it, to do penetration testing. The NSA has to certify that they couldn’t hack into it, even with having all the source code."
O’Dowd said the effort cost the privately held company "millions, but not $10 million."
The Integrity RTOS achieved its first design win in 1997 on the Boeing B-1B bomber, where it is used in navigation and weapons systems. Green Hills in 2000 began the process of certifying Integrity to DO-178B Level A, the highest avionics safety certification granted by FAA and EASA, achieving that in 2002 on the Sikorsky S-92. The RTOS has been chosen by Lockheed Martin for the F-16, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II fighters, and is applied on other platforms such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.
"The F-22 and F-35 are actually the basis for this [security] evaluation," O’Dowd said. Lockheed Martin "decided they wanted to put our latest fighter jets on the Global Information Grid," and needed to know that aircraft systems could not be corrupted or disabled.
In concert with the security certification, Green Hills launched a wholly owned subsidiary, Integrity Global Security LLC, to deploy the security technology in the enterprise market for desktop systems.
Boeing in November said it will cut 800 positions at its Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, Kan., during 2009. The company attributed the reductions in part to the delay in the U.S. Air Force tanker replacement program.
"A combination of events are limiting our business options and forcing us to reduce our current employee total," said Scott Strode, Boeing Wichita vice president and general manager. "We also are taking steps to restructure our business in order to lower our rates and become more affordable for customers."
The Wichita facility at the time of the announcement employed 3,000 people involved in programs for the U.S. government executive fleet, B-52 refueling systems support, the 767 International Tanker, engineering support for the Airborne Laser and 747-8, and integrated logistics support.
Engine maker Pratt & Whitney laid off 350 employees in early December, mainly in Connecticut. Sister company Hamilton Sundstrand also cut jobs.
Boeing on Nov. 19 said it successfully completed Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) upgrades on the C-130 AMP 3 (H3) aircraft.
The aircraft was moved into ground test and evaluation at Boeing’s Global Services & Support facility.
During the 10-month installation, the aircraft received an integrated, night-vision-goggle compatible, glass cockpit and digital avionics system. The first flight of the AMP 3 aircraft is scheduled for February.
Last September, Boeing signed a contract with the U.S. Air Force for the first two Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) AMP kits. The company plans to provide 26 kits, engineering services, training and logistics support during LRIP. The company also will install production kits on 11 aircraft.
Thales will upgrade the Communications and Identification systems on French air force C-130s, under an agreement announced in November.
Thales will provide its NextW@ve V/UHF multipurpose terminal and 8.33 kHz Air Traffic Control radio, in addition to TSC 2000 IFF Mode 5 transponder. The NextW@ve terminal comes with extended multi-band/multimode capabilities, including high data rate.
The IFF Mode 5 transponder will provide NATO forces with a high-performance identification capability, with higher levels of communication security than the legacy Mode 4, Thales said.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in November completed Operational Assessment (OA), flying from Northrop Grumman’s East Coast Manufacturing and Flight Test Center in St. Augustine, Fla.
With completion of OA, the flight test program had accumulated more than 600 flight hours, more than half involving in-flight radar testing, the company said.
The assessment was conducted by a U.S. Navy test squadron to assess the effectiveness of the E-2D in a mission environment. Successful completion of OA is one of the steps the program must go through prior to a Navy decision on low-rate initial production.
BAE Systems in November announced the development of a compact, mortar-based launcher for small UAVs.
The system, developed under a program named "Project Artful," allows for UAVs weighing up to 55 pounds (25 kg) to be paired with a standard 81mm mortar-based launch mechanism. European and worldwide patents were pending, the company said.
"We identified that the burden of transporting launch and support equipment has been a major factor in preventing the use of small UAVs on the front line," said BAE Artful Delivery Manager Chris O’Brien.
"This new system dispenses with the need for specialist launch equipment such as rockets and catapults, bringing brigade-level capability to individual platoons. It can work with a wide variety of different UAVs and mortars without the need for re-qualification."
"Project Artful" is a partnership involving BAE, IBEX Ropes, Cranfield Aerospace and Blue Bear Systems Research.
FAA awarded a $437 million contract to a Raytheon-led team to provide training support for air-traffic controllers. FAA’s Air Traffic Control Optimum Training Solution contract is a performance-based contract that replaces the current FAA field Training Support for Air Traffic and the FAA Academy Instructional Support Services contracts.
Lockheed Martin received a $147 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for additional Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP).
The Sniper ATP provides essential non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using high-resolution, mid-wave FLIR and TV sensors, which operate in conjunction with a dual-mode laser. The pod also provides long-range target identification and coordinates self-generated video down link to remotely operated, video enhancement receiver ground terminals.
Northrop Grumman was awarded a $97 million contract from the U.S. Army to procure, modify and deliver 12 Hunter MQ-5B UAVs, six One-System Block II ground control stations, eight tactical common data links and ground data link terminal sets, two sets of ground support equipment and four sets of spare parts. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Aircraft System Center of Excellence, Sierra Vista, Ariz., and facilities at Starkville, Miss.
A team of Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and SAIC was selected by the U.S. Navy to execute the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) Increment 1 program. The program value for Rockwell Collins is $94 million.
Rockwell Collins will provide GPS and communications subsystems, systems engineering, test and logistics support. JPALS Increment 1 provides the Navy with an all-weather precision approach and landing capability for shipboard environments using GPS.
Rockwell Collins was awarded a U.S. Navy contract to provide the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Integrated Training System for Aircrew (HITS-A). The initial contract award is $68 million, with a total target price of $164 million.
The U.S. Navy ordered a fourth lot of Northrop Grumman’s Improved Capability (ICAP) III airborne electronic attack systems for its fleet of EA-6B Prowlers under a 31-month contract potentially valued at more than $125 million. The order is for nine complete systems, plus associated parts and spares. The first kit will be delivered in 2010. Northrop Grumman also manufactures the aircraft’s ICAP III ALQ-218 receiver subsystem.
CAE, of Montreal, was awarded $50.6 million in contracts to design and manufacture four full-flight simulators for Cathay Pacific Airways (CAE 7000 Series Boeing 747-8), Southwest Airlines (CAE 7000 Series Boeing 737-700), Lufthansa Flight Training (CAE 7000 Series Airbus A330/340 convertible simulator) and Flight Simulation Co. (CAE 7000 Series Airbus A320).
Northrop Grumman’s Park Air Systems subsidiary was awarded a contract from NAV Canada to supply VHF radios as part of a $50 million replacement program. Under terms of the contract, Park Air Systems will supply radios to replace all ground-to-air VHF radio equipment throughout 320 sites across Canada. More than 2,000 pairs of radios will be replaced, the company said.
Boeing was awarded a contract not to exceed $42 million for the initial phase of upgrading the radar on Saudi Arabia’s fleet of five E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. The phase includes the purchase of long lead parts and the start of software design. The next phase involves production and installation of the Radar System Improvement Program kits, software integration and testing, and crew training.
Northrop Grumman was awarded a five-year, $37 million contract from the U.S. Navy to provide maintenance for both E-2C Hawkeye and C-2A Greyhound aircraft at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Patuxent River, Md. The company will provide aircraft maintenance, logistics and aviation administrative services for E-2C and C-2A aircraft assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20).
Northrop Grumman was awarded two separate contracts to provide navigation and weather radars and logistical support for the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. The radar contract is valued at $33.4 million; the contract for continued logistical support $9.9 million. The company will supply its AN/APN-241 color weather radar, which provides high-resolution ground maps, predictive windshear, accurate low-level navigation, unprecedented safety-of-flight measures and critical situational awareness.
Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. awarded Curtiss-Wright Corp., Roseland, N.J., an $18 million contract to provide an electronics package to protect against ice build-up on engine air inlets, windshield and main and tail rotor blades on a new utility helicopter. Curtiss-Wright’s package includes the Rotor Ice Protection System, and windshield and engine ice protection controllers.
The U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command awarded the Systems Engineering Group of QinetiQ North America a task order to provide airworthiness and qualification engineering to the Apache division of the Aviation Engineering Directorate. The task order has a one-year base period of performance, five one-year options, and a ceiling value of nearly $11 million, if all options are exercised.
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products was awarded two contracts from Lockheed Martin for production of GAU-22/A gun systems for the F-35 Lightning II. The contracts have a combined value of nearly $9 million. The internal gun system, a derivative of the GAU-12/U 25mm Gatling gun, will be used on the F-35 Conventional Take-off and Landing variant. Production will extend through August 2010 in Saco, Maine.
RADA Electronic Industries, Netanya, Israel, signed a $6.2 million agreement "with a major fighter-aircraft manufacturer" to produce its Net-Centric Digital Recorder, an airborne video and data recording system, as part of an upgrade package. Deliveries are planned from 2009 to 2012.
Rockwell Collins will provide side displays and docking stations for the Class 2 electronic flight bag (EFB) on new Airbus A320s for production and aftermarket applications. The system includes two dedicated touch screens, large-format displays integrated in both sides of the cockpit, and two docking stations that receive aircraft parameters. Each docking station is capable of hosting a laptop running EFB application software.
Irish airline Aer Lingus selected Rockwell Collins to provide a suite of avionics, including MultiScan weather radar, GLU-920 Multi-Mode Receiver and a full range of communication and navigation offerings, on six Airbus A330s. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2009.
Oman Air selected Rockwell Collins’ Tailwind 560 in-flight TV system for a fleet of seven Airbus A330s with delivery starting July 2009. The Tailwind 560 is a certified multi-region Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) airborne TV system for the air transport market. The system receives Ku-band DBS television signals and provides access to digital video and audio programming.
EMS Technologies’ Defense & Space Systems Division will provide the AURA-LE Ku-band antenna, developed collaboratively with Panasonic Avionics Corp., as a core component of the Panasonic eXConnect system. The eXConnect system provides two-way broadband connectivity globally for passenger and crew, including Internet access, voice data, television and the ability to monitor and transmit airline operational data in real time.
Goodrich Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., was awarded a contract from Sikorsky Aircraft to equip the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter Sikorsky is developing for the U.S. Marine Corps, with an Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS). Work will be performed by Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems team in Vergennes, Vt.
Sensis Corp., of Syracuse, N.Y., will supply its Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance and Control System at Perth Airport, Australia, under a contract with Airservices Australia. As part of the deployment, Airservices will also use Sensis VeeLo NextGen units for tracking and identification of vehicles on the airport surface and the Sensis Aerobahn airport management tool for managing ground operations.
Roll-Out Of ADS-B Ground Infrastructure Advances After ‘Fast-Paced’ 2008
The ITT Corp. team building the ground infrastructure for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in the United States will begin deploying equipment this year for the first, key sites identified for "critical" services.
ITT in August 2007 was awarded the contract from FAA to build a nationwide ADS-B infrastructure of 794 ground stations, an agreement valued at $1.86 billion over 18 years, with options. The company is in the midst of the segment 1 phase, a three-year, $207 million contract to stand up about 40 percent of the stations by September 2010.
There are 15 other companies participating with ITT, including Thales North America, providing the 1090 MHz and UAT transceivers for the ground stations; network provider AT&T and weather data provider WSI.
The first year of the contract was eventful, and the industry team remains on schedule, on budget, with the ground system roll-out, said John Kefaliotis, ITT director of business development for FAA and Air Traffic Control programs. Kefaliotis spoke with Avionics during the Air Traffic Control Association conference in Washington, D.C., in November.
Last August, the team gained initial operating capability (IOC) from FAA for a network of 11 radio sites in southern Florida providing "essential" services. Under the ADS-B contract, essential services refers to the provision of Traffic Information Service Broadcasts (TIS-B) and Flight Information Service Broadcasts (FIS-B) to properly equipped aircraft. TIS-B is the uplink to the cockpit of traffic information gleaned from ground-based surveillance radars; FIS-B is the uplink of weather and aeronautical information.
"The contract was awarded to us Aug. 30 [of 2007]," recalled Kefaliotis. "They intended to reach IOC for the essential services at the Florida key sites in August [of 2008]. They declared IOC on Aug. 29, one day less than a year after contract award. We’re very proud of that accomplishment. It has been one fast-paced year."
FAA on Nov. 24 said the Florida sites were commissioned for service.
Kefaliotis said the team originally planned to collocate ADS-B radio stations with cellular towers. However, it was prevented from using sites near major airports due to interference restrictions involving secondary surveillance radars (SSR). As a result, five of the 11 stations were located at GA airports: Lakeland Linder Regional, Dade-Collier, Florida Keys Marathon Airport, Boca Raton and Sebastian Municipal.
"The enroute and terminal radios, because of the requirements, are relatively high-power radios, so the FAA had very strict requirements on the level of interference we could present to the existing secondary surveillance radar," Kefaliotis said. "So we couldn’t site our ADS-B radios for enroute and terminal coverage at a major airport where there is a SSR.... It turned out that within our search rings, we were able to locate at GA airports. It’s win-win. The GA airport gets TIS-B and FIS-B service and eventually ADS-B service at the surface level and traffic pattern altitude, and we get a site."
The segment 1 contract also calls for FAA acceptance of "critical" services at key sites. Kefaliotis said critical services involve the presentation of ADS-B targets on controller displays and the "rebroadcast" or translation of signals from large aircraft equipped with 1090 MHz transponders, via the ground stations, to smaller aircraft equipped with 978 MHz Universal Access Transceivers (UAT), and vice-versa. FAA chose this dual-frequency approach in awarding the ADS-B contract.
The key sites for activating critical services are Louisville, Ky., Philadelphia, the Gulf of Mexico and Juneau, Alaska. Kefaliotis said the industry team was in the process of developing software and analyzing sites, with the aim of deploying equipment after the first of the year. The key sites for critical services are scheduled for IOC in the third or fourth quarter of 2009.
In parallel with establishing critical services, the team will expand the essential services infrastructure, Kefaliotis said. At the conclusion of the segment 1 contract, in addition to achieving key-site acceptance for essential and critical services, it expects to deploy some 300 ground stations overall, providing TIS-B and FIS-B broadcasts along the East coast, West coast, upper Midwest and parts of Alaska.
With FAA still promulgating requirements for airborne equipment, the roll-out of the ADS-B ground infrastructure is outpacing developments in the cockpit. Kefaliotis said the essential services being introduced are compatible with the Garmin and Chelton avionics used in Alaska, where TIS-B and FIS-B were made available under the Capstone technology demonstration. But FIS-B service has been amended to include a broader set of aeronautical products than is currently supported by avionics manufacturers, he said.
Moreover, FAA has proposed only an "ADS-B Out" mandate, requiring that an aircraft be able to transmit its position, while putting off a requirement for "ADS-B In," the ability to receive and display signals from other aircraft. The Aviation Rulemaking Committee advising FAA has recommended an ADS-B In rule be drafted around 2012, "but between now and then, ADS-B In services in the form of TIS-B and FIS-B are going to be available," Kefaliotis said.
"We’re broadcasting it, so if the avionics guys can interpret the data and display it, it will be displayable," he said.
— Bill Carey
U.S. Navy, Air Force Combine For First RQ4A Joint Launch
An Air Combat Command RQ4A Global Hawk made history on several fronts when it arrived at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) in Southwest Asia after a 19-hour flight Sept. 20, 2008.
Sailors from Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., launched the unmanned aircraft from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., on the first operational trans-Atlantic flight.
"The U.S. Air Force is establishing global and regional standard operating procedures for unmanned aerial flight," said Brig. Gen. H.D. Polumbo, Jr., 380th AEW commander. "We fly global airpower missions routinely in other manned aircraft — that is our core competency. After this groundbreaking mission, we look forward to working out new global UAS procedures with the U.S. Navy and our coalition partners."
The Navy’s Unmanned Aircraft System team joined members of the Air Force to accomplish the first joint launch in the Global Hawk’s history. The flight was the first operational trans-Atlantic flight for the unmanned aircraft, and the first time two RQ4As simultaneously flew missions in neighboring theaters.
"We flew out of Pax River, where we used the Navy asset ground segment to launch it out of there; and that’s the first time that’s been done," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Jones, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The Air Force capitalizes on the support at Pax River because it enables the maintainers to launch while saving time and resources.
"The Navy has all of the supplies we have, plus contracted support," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Milles, avionics specialist from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Beale AFB. "It’s a lot easier than just going to a remote location. Working hand in hand with the Navy moves the plane faster to the deployed location."
Going east over the Atlantic has its own significance and demonstrates how the Air Force is committed to providing global vigilance, reach and power in the future by exploring new options.
"Going this direction [across the Atlantic], specifically allows us to cut out a lot of different stops in a lot of different areas," said Col. George Zaniewski, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division chief, ACC A4 Intelligence. "Overall, it gets the aircraft over into the area of responsibility much easier; and more importantly than that, it allows us to work with the Navy, who will be doing more and more in the Global Hawk environment."
The historic flight from Pax River is just the beginning of the increased relationship between the two service branches.
"Specifically for the Global Hawk, we are getting more and more into maritime environments. So we are going to be able to work with the Navy much more than we ever have," said Zaniewski.
There are certain hurdles to clear when working with another service, but those are evaluated and turned into learning opportunities.
"There is a bit of a different language, different process, but overall we are still the same airframe," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Tracey, Naval Global Hawk project officer. "We are kind of the smaller, kid brother of the Global Hawk community, so it’s nice to work with everybody else."
The Pax River mission was a win-win for the Air Force as well as the Navy; but with joint operations like these, the real winner is the war fighter.
"It helps to rotate these systems out so they have fresh aircraft. They are flying combat missions daily and you want the best product out there," Tracey said.
The trans-Atlantic mission also is a milestone toward the chief of staff’s initiative to increase UAS capacity for the joint fight.
"This flight is one more step in the development of a foundation on which future unmanned aerial operations will be built," Polumbo said. "The rest of the world is watching and learning from our UAS accomplishments. Nobody moves high-altitude, semi-autonomous aircraft around the globe like the Air Force. It’s an exciting time to be in the AOR."
"We’ve demonstrated that we can support two theaters simultaneously," said Maj. Rob Matlock, 12th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron commander and Global Hawk pilot, Southwest Asia. "That is going to prove to be a vital asset in the years to come."
This article was provided by Master Sgt. Steven Goetsch and Tech. Sgt. Denise Johnson of 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs. Photos by Sgt. Johnson.