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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Industry Scan

Chew: ATO Hitting Targets

Russell G. Chew came to FAA in 2003 to head the agency’s first "performance-based" Air Traffic Organization (ATO). His recent departure came in the midst of the critical transition to a satellite-based air traffic management system.

Chew, a former American Airlines pilot and executive, stepped down as ATO chief operating officer in February to take a job as executive vice president of Hawaiian Airlines. That left a potentially worrisome void in the leadership of a multi-agency effort to develop the Next Generation Air Transportation System (Next-Gen). Deputy FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell was appointed acting COO until a permanent replacement is named.

In an interview with Avionics before he left office, Chew said he was proud of FAA’s progress toward Next-Gen. But he joined the call for more funding to achieve its end state.

The model of a performance-based organization, which involves running an agency more like a private business with strict performance metrics, was recommended by the National Civil Aviation Review Commission in 1997 and authorized by Congress in 2000.

As COO, Chew oversaw the operational and financial performance of the air traffic control system and FAA’s research and acquisition programs.

"When you look at the overall strategy, it’s the first time I think the agency has pulled together, in a comprehensive way, a scorecard that actually accounts for every dollar and every person in the organization and what he or she does to contribute to today’s operation and contribute to the future of the operation," Chew said.

The ATO met all of its safety and capacity goals in 2006, hitting its operational error-rate target for the first time since it was established, Chew said. Of 31 major acquisition programs in fiscal 2006, 97 percent met their schedule goals and all stayed within budget.

"The fact is that we were able to hit 97 percent [on-time performance] last year, which meant we only allowed one program off schedule, and so far this year we’re at 100 percent," Chew said.

"That’s a very important part of being able to implement the next generation system. And we instituted here a great deal of ongoing monitoring and scrutiny on all of our programs for that very reason."

Implementing vital technologies — more than the technologies themselves — is key to the Next-Gen rollout, Chew said. He named Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), en-route automation and traffic flow management as key enablers.

"The issue isn’t what the technologies are," he said. "It’s what you do with them, and that means how they all work together. That’s what’s difficult about Next-Gen. In the past when you developed one technology, it produced one service.... Next-Gen is going to be a new service that is dependent on multiple phases of multiple programs. Hence, the issue of complexity of large-scale integration."

FAA estimates that without the efficiencies availed by Next-Gen, there will be gridlock in the skies, costing the U.S. economy $22 billion in lost economic activity annually by 2022. That number grows to more than $40 billion by 2033.

Critical to Next-Gen implementation, Chew and FAA officials said, is more robust funding. In a reauthorization bill sent to Congress in February, FAA proposed replacing the decades-old system that funds operations, which is based on airline ticket taxes and arrival/departure fees, with one founded on user fees and fuel taxes. -Emily Feliz

Commercial

Rockwell Equips 747-8

Boeing selected Rockwell Collins to provide the displays, autopilot, communications, navigation and surveillance, and maintenance, emergency and data management systems for its 747-8 family, scheduled to enter service in 2009.

A key feature of the system, Boeing said, is Rockwell Collins’ WXR-2100 MultiScan Hazard Detection System, described as the first and only radar that analyzes and determines actual weather hazards, not simply atmospheric moisture content. [The WXR-2100 also was key to avionics packages announced by TAP Portugal, for five Airbus A330s, and Shanghai Airlines, for 13 Boeing 737NGs.]

The B787-8 display system, featuring Rockwell Collins’ DU-7001 LCD screens, will be upgraded to include many of the features found on the Boeing 777, such as an electronic checklist with cursor control panel, navigation performance scales and vertical situation displays. The B747-8 autopilot and navigation systems will include GPS landing system functionality.

Reaction To FAA Bill

Industry groups took issue with a multi-year reauthorization package FAA sent to Congress in February, revealing deep fissures in the agency’s proposed new funding plan.

FAA said the Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007 would replace the decades-old system of collecting ticket and arrival/departure taxes with a cost-based program founded on user fees and fuel taxes to support development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (Next-Gen).

The agency seeks up to $5 billion in bond authority, beginning in 2013, to underwrite Next-Gen capital costs.

Funding authorization for the current programs and taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund expires Sept. 30. The proposed budget for fiscal 2008 is $14.1 billion.

"Our proposal will make it easier for airports, airlines and controllers to keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for air travel this nation is going to experience over the coming decades," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.

The new legislation would eliminate the domestic passenger ticket tax and reduce the international arrival and departure tax by 50 percent, FAA says.

The bill would reform the Passenger Facility Charge Program to enable large- and medium-sized airports to raise local funds for construction projects.

The airline industry reacted cautiously to the proposed legislation, while groups representing corporate and general aviation said the bill would do more harm than good.

The Air Transport Association (ATA), representing airlines, described the funding bill as a good first step that recognizes "the inequity of forcing airlines and their customers to subsidize other system users." Currently, airlines contribute 94 percent of revenue to the trust fund but drive less than 73 percent of air-traffic control costs, ATA says.

Nevertheless, the association expressed "deep concern" over some elements of the program, including a congested-airspace fee tied to large airports and the use of aircraft weight as a factor in assessing cost-based funding.

Less charitable was the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), representing corporate aircraft owners, which labeled the bill, released on Valentine’s Day, a "sweetheart deal for big airlines."

The proposed legislation would triple fuel taxes paid by general aviation aircraft, implement new user fees for GA flights using airspace within several miles of large airports and create "a litany of other new, transactional users fees for pilot licensing, aircraft certifications and other services," the association said.

"The changes proposed by the FAA would overthrow a funding structure that has proven to be stable, reliable and efficient for several decades," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

"The fact is, the FAA’s scheme promotes radical changes in order to provide a giveaway to the big airlines."

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) similarly blasted user fees, saying the new funding mechanism would not solve FAA shortfalls.

"No one is more committed to the modernization of the national airspace system than aviation manufacturers," said Pete Bunce, GAMA’s president and CEO.

"We must move past this ill-advised user fee proposal and focus the efforts of our industry and government partners to design and implement a modernized air traffic management system."

Canada Adopts ADS-B

Nav Canada plans to award Sensis Corp. a contract to provide Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers to track aircraft flying over the Hudson Bay region, signaling the start of a nationwide ADS-B deployment.

Sensis, Syracuse, N.Y., said it will also provide antennas for wide area multilateration (see story, p. 30) in two locations — Vancouver Harbor, including approaches to Vancouver International Airport, to enable surveillance and tracking of low-altitude sea plane traffic in the mountainous terrain; and the "Oil Sands" area of Fort St. John to enable surveillance of commercial, general aviation, and helicopter air traffic.

"These deployments mark the beginning of our evolution from conventional radar to the next generation of air traffic surveillance," said John Crichton, Nav Canada president and CEO.

Nav Canada said the ADS-B transceivers will provide aircraft position information with sufficient accuracy and reliability to allow for five nautical miles of lateral separation.

Nav Canada estimates the Hudson Bay ADS-B deployment will save aircraft operators $200 million in fuel costs over 15 years through more flexible and fuel-efficient flight routes.

Nav Canada Milestone

A Nav Canada-designed system reached an oceanic air traffic milestone in February, with the system now tracking more than 1,000 daily flights across the North Atlantic from North America to Europe.

Nav Canada, the country’s civil air navigation services provider, said the milestone was a result of a partnership with NATS, the public-private air traffic services collaboration between the U.K. government, a consortium of seven British airlines and airport operator BAA.

Nav Canada said the initial focus of the partnership, which was forged in 2002, was to develop the Gander Automated Air Traffic System (GAATS), operated by Nav Canada controllers in Gander, Newfoundland, to meet NATS requirements.

The result is known as the Shanwick Automated Air Traffic System (SAATS), now operational in Prestwick, Scotland.

"Transatlantic flights through the busiest oceanic airspace in the world now depend on Canadian technology from landfall to landfall — using GAATS in the Western Atlantic and SAATS for the Eastern portion closer to Europe," said John Crichton, Nav Canada president and CEO.

The technology of both SAATS and GAATS provides controllers with a "moving picture" of air traffic despite the absence of radar in oceanic airspace, through the use of advanced air traffic management software.

Both systems allow controllers and pilots to communicate directly through text-based data link over satellite, a significant improvement over HF radio.

Dublin Airport MSS

The Irish Aviation Authority will deploy Era Corp.’s Multisensor Surveillance System (MSS) at the Dublin airport. MSS combines surveillance techniques for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) and multilateration.

Era, formerly Rannoch Corp., said the system provides higher accuracy, greater update rates, better coverage and improved reliability when compared to conventional radar, and will do so at a much lower initial cost and with lower annual maintenance costs.

The deployment of MSS technology is one step in the Irish authority’s plan to accommodate growing passenger traffic at the Dublin airport.

The authority said in recent years it has invested more than $130 million for new and improved infrastructure. Additional infrastructure plans include parallel runways, where multilateration will play a significant role.

Era said its MSS technology also is deployed at airports in Copenhagen, Munich, Singapore, Madrid and Beijing.

Bremen Airport GBAS

Honeywell was selected by DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) to install its SLS-4000 Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) at Bremen Airport in Germany.

Honeywell said the contract marks the first sale of the augmented GPS navigation technology.

A prototype system will be installed at Bremen Airport in April.

The prototype will be replaced by a certified SLS-4000 system in 2008 following FAA Category One certification.

"Our GBAS will help increase safety and reliability during precision landings based on satellite navigation," said Scott Starrett, vice president with Honeywell Defense and Space.

"In the future we expect this new technology to help aircraft land during adverse weather conditions, reduce delays and decrease airline operating costs worldwide," he said.

Europe SSR Code Crunch

Eurocontrol launched the Centralized SSR Code Assignment and Management System (CCAMS) implementation project to deal with shortages of secondary surveillance radar (SSR) codes used by air traffic control.

SSR code shortages, caused by an overall increase in air traffic and a rise in traffic to new destinations within Europe, "are becoming a limiting factor to future growth in European air traffic levels," Eurocontrol said.

The 37-member state organization recently reported flights in January increased 5.6 percent from January 2006, outpacing the projected average annual increase of 4 percent.

As its antenna rotates, SSR acquires encoded identification data by interrogating aircraft transponders.

Eurocontrol said the current system of codes based on national allocation is running short on codes at peak times in some parts of Europe.

CCAMS, consisting of a central server, will provide a unique code for each civilian flight operating within the region and will automatically distribute it to the concerned ATC units.

ATC units will join the system in three implementation phases from 2008 through 2011. The first implementation phase covers the East European and Mediterranean states.

Data Access Patent

Arinc was awarded U.S. Patent 7149612 for improved methods of accessing operational data from electronic systems on board aircraft, including selective monitoring, display of parameters in near real-time, data collection and storage, and transmission of data to the ground.

The company said it sees the concept having an "immediate application to modern commercial aircraft, many of which are equipped with quick access recorders (QARs) that store voluminous amounts of data on board."

The Arinc method involves an electronic transmission of data from the QARs and other avionic devices, rather than the current practice of physically retrieving data for periodic analysis. QAR data often is collected weekly or biweekly.

The patent includes the use of portable data-handling devices such as electronic flight bags to store data on board, conduct real-time event analysis and make it available immediately to air crews or provide it to ground maintenance personnel.

"There are upward of 3,000 aircraft using QARs today, and they have no easy way to extract critical data in real time," said Rolf Stefani, senior director of the Arinc Technology Innovation Center and primary inventor of the method.

"Imagine data that shows a plane was subjected to severe turbulent conditions, or landed with excessive force on a past flight," Stefani said. "It would be much more useful to see this data in real time and take the appropriate corrective action immediately rather than wait several weeks for data to be offloaded and subsequently analyzed."

Charter Flight Monitoring

Teledyne Controls said Canada charter airline Skyservice Airlines selected its flight data monitoring services.

Skyservice chose Teledyne’s Tier 1 Platinum Service, which consists of the analysis of Skyservice’s flight data by Teledyne and delivery of extensive reports providing information on operational events and trends.

Teledyne, based in Los Angeles, said features of the service include reports based on routine measurements taken from flights, as well as access to economic analyses. Customers also receive online access to their data and can download periodic reports issued by Teledyne or generate their own formats.

CRJ1000 Launch

Bombardier announced the launch of its CRJ1000 regional jet, which it said is designed to meet the needs of growing regional airlines.

The CRJ1000 will be equipped with a Rockwell Collins suite enhanced with Pro Line 21 Line Replaceable Units, digital weather radar, super attitude heading reference system, Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.

Powered by new-generation General Electric CF34-8C5 engines, the CRJ1000 will have a maximum range of 3,131 km with 100 seats filled. Bombardier said the CRJ1000, which is part of the manufacturer’s CRJ series, will maintain high commonality with the rest of the series to allow fleet operators to minimize operating costs and increase profitability.

The company said the CRJ1000 development focuses on low operating costs and cabin comfort. Compared to older generation aircraft of similar passenger capacity, the CRJ1000 will have lower fuel consumption and achieve up to 30 percent reduced carbon dioxide engine emissions.

"The CRJ1000 regional jet combines the proven platform, reliability and flexible cabin configurations of its predecessors with its closest competitor having up to 15 percent higher trip cash operating costs," said Pierre Beaudoin, president and CEO of Bombardier Aerospace.

As of March, Bombardier said the CRJ1000 program has 38 firm orders, 15 of which are CRJ900 conversions, and 23 conditional orders and options.

First flight of the CRJ1000 is set for the summer of 2008; in-service operation is slated for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Satcom STC

Avionica said its satLINK voice and data communications service won FAA supplemental type certification (STC) for installation on the Boeing 737.

The satcom system’s launch customer, Miami Air, recently started installations. Continental Airlines also plans to equip aircraft with the system.

The company said satLINK uses the Iridium satellite constellation and routes communications traffic based on network availability and criticality.

Avionica says the system may be installed with either a dedicated audio handset, or integrated into the aircraft’s audio system using the audio panel, headset and mic push-to-talk keys for control. Affiliate company Avionics Support Group offers kit fabrication and installation. Miami-based Avionica said it expects to receive further STCs for the B757 and the 767 airliners.

Runway Awareness STC

L2 Consulting Services won FAA supplemental type certification (STC) to install the Honeywell Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) on B757 series aircraft.

The RAAS system, a software upgrade hosted in the Honeywell Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, provides improved situational awareness through aural advisories to the flight crew.

It uses GPS, coupled with an internal airport runway database, to monitor the airplane’s location and provide voice advisories.

L2 said it is the only company to hold a STC for the Honeywell RAAS installation on the B757 and 767 aircraft types.

Wireless Router STC

Avionica said it won FAA supplemental type certification (STC) to install its secureLINK 802.11 wireless router on certain Airbus aircraft.

The router enables secure, wireless transfer of data to and from the aircraft. Avionica said secureLINK establishes an authenticated and encrypted log-on automatically as the aircraft enters the system’s wireless network. It communicates with a Local Area Network to transmit and receive all information without human intervention.

The company said its affiliate, Avionics Support Group, will offers customers kit fabrication and installation services for the Airbus A319, A320 and A321 fleet.

Air Jamaica will be the first customer to install secureLINK under the A320 STC, Avionica said.

Teledyne Training System

Teledyne Controls said it was awarded a contract by Boeing subsidiary Alteon Training to install its ReVision flight-crew training system on Alteon flight simulators.

ReVision is a PC-based flight crew training system that has a virtual flight deck and realistic aircraft instrumentation animations, integrated with videos, audio and airfield satellite imagery.

The system allows end users to produce their specific training syllabus and standard operating procedure training videos, for use in ground school, recurrent and transition training courses.

Under the agreement with Alteon, Teledyne’s system will be installed on Boeing 737NG, B747-400 and B777-200 full flight simulators for use by Korean Airlines.

B757 Display STC

Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S), Exton, Pa., won FAA supplemental type certification (STC) for its cockpit/IP flat panel display system on Boeing 757 aircraft.

The IS&S Cockpit/IP is an all-glass cockpit with active matrix LCD displays for flight and navigation, as well as multi-function display capability.

Available options for the Cockpit/IP Flat Panel Display retrofit from IS&S will be a Class 3 electronic flight bag, incorporating Jeppesen navigation charts, the company said.

India Training Center

Canadian flight-simulator manufacturer CAE will establish an aviation training center in India.

The center will be located near the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli, and will have the capacity to train up to 1,000 pilots a year.

CAE said it is investing $20 million on the center, which will open by the end of 2007. Pilot, cabin crew and maintenance training will be offered, as well as flight operations support on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

"Listening to our customers, we realized the strategic importance of opening a training center in India. The Indian aviation industry is growing rapidly and faces significant pilot shortages," said Jeff Roberts, CAE’s group president of Innovation and Civil Training and Services.

Corporate

Eclipse, Avidyne Split

Missed program deadlines on the Eclipse 500 very light jet led manufacturer Eclipse Aviation Corp., Albuquerque, N.M., to sever its relationship with avionics vendor Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, Mass.

A week later, Eclipse named a team of suppliers to take Avidyne’s place. Innovative Solutions & Support will supply the hardware and software for the flight displays, Chelton Flight Systems will supply the flight management system, Garmin International will supply its dual remote mounted Mode S Enhanced Surveillance transponders (GTX 33 and GTX 33D), Honeywell will supply the multi-mode digital radios, and PS Engineering will supply the digital audio system for the Avio NG, as Eclipse is calling the new integrated system.

"Best of breed versus all from one is how I would characterize it," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO when announcing the new suppliers. "This is the best solution for a variety of reasons."

Following a series of delays attributed in part to late avionics validations, the Eclipse 500 obtained FAA type certification last September. Eclipse Aviation made its first customer delivery in December, and claims 2,600 orders for the twinjet.

Eclipse said the changeover would not affect production or delivery schedules.

"We expect the change to be seamless for our customers from a standpoint of Eclipse 500 functionality, look and feel," the company said.

Near-term aircraft will have Avidyne components installed, however these early deliveries would be retrofitted with new components in the second half of 2007, the company said.

Each aircraft will take about 10 days to upgrade and the work will be completed at Eclipse’s Albuquerque, N.M., facility, Raburn said.

"We’re trying to architect a system that as these systems mature it doesn’t mean you have to throw away your airplane to get them," Raburn said.

Gulfstream Buys Weco

Gulfstream Aerospace acquired Weco Aerospace Systems, Lincoln, Calif., a privately held aviation component overhaul company specializing in electronic accessories and flight instrument services.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Weco will retain its name and become part of Gulfstream’s Product Support business operations. Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.

"For Gulfstream, this agreement augments our current overhaul capabilities on the West Coast, something our customers have requested for a long time," said Larry Flynn, president of product support for Gulfstream.

GIII Retrofit

Landmark Aviation completed the installation of a Honeywell Primus Epic CDS/R (Control Display System/Retrofit) avionics system on a Gulfstream III.

The avionics package included Honeywell’s Mark VII Class A Terrain Awareness & Warning System (TAWS) and Runway Awareness & Advisory System.

Flight data is displayed on three flat-panel LCDs that consolidate primary flight data, weather, TCAS and TAWS functions.

IPFD for Helicopters

Honeywell said it is developing an integrated primary flight display (IPFD) for helicopters aimed at improving situational awareness and reducing pilot workload.

The synthetic vision technology development process is expected to last for two to three more years, and Honeywell plans to market the display by 2010.

The IPFD will replicate the view from the helicopter’s windshield on a clear day and overlay the terrain image with flight symbols, including icons, indicating the aircraft’s planned flight path, vertical acceleration, radio altitude and potential landing zones.

Additional display features will include various colors and terrain shading for different altitudes, obstacle identification, distance-marking range rings, wind vector identification and a top-down aircraft display.

Honeywell said the IPFD will use data from the company’s proprietary terrain database used with its Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, which provides a terrain awareness map display and alerts pilots to obstacles and hazardous terrain.

Honda Aircraft HQ

Honda Aircraft will establish its headquarters at Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport in Greensboro, N.C., with construction of a 215,000-square-foot facility.

The company’s new HondaJet will be manufactured adjacent to the headquarters.

The new facilities will replace the company’s existing, 32,000-square-foot hangar and office complex, also at PTI airport. About $60 million will be spent on construction and equipment. Work is slated to begin in November.

The Honda Motor Co. subsidiary plans to begin delivery of the HondaJet to customers in 2010.

The decision to commercialize HondaJet was announced last July, followed by the establishment of Honda Aircraft Co. in August. The company said it has received more than 100 orders for the $3.65 million light jet.

"For five years, Greensboro has served as the home of HondaJet, as we have worked to take our dream from the drawing board to the sky," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft president and CEO.

iPod as FDR?

A Vero Beach, Fla.-based light aircraft manufacturer is bringing iPod into the cockpit, turning Apple Computers’ ubiquitous music player into a flight data recorder (FDR).

Lo Presti SpeedMerchants, maker of the Fury piston light aircraft, said it is repurposing the iPod technology to use it as a potential replacement for the "black box," capable of capturing engine functions, GPS functions, two-way cockpit conversations and communications with air traffic control.

"All an iPod is is a digital data recorder," said RJ Siegel, LoPresti’s vice president of operations. "It makes perfect sense" to use it in this way.

"This is a watershed technology," he added in a statement.

Siegel, a former Apple executive who said he still consults for the company, said he anticipates it could be possible to store a person’s entire aviation life on one iPod.

He said he envisions a 160 GB iPod capable of storing up to 6,000 hours of flight data.

"If the kids can’t break it dropping it on the ground, it’s unlikely that it’ll get damaged bouncing around on an airplane," Siegel told Avionics.

Siegel was on the original Macintosh design team and managed a spectrum of multimillion-dollar projects.

Siegel said the idea was originally envisioned for the light aircraft market, but he said he’s been seeing interest in the concept from "five or six" corporate and business jet companies, which he declined to identify.

Military

CATBird Performs

The avionics test bed aircraft for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) satisfied all test objectives within its initial flight-clearance envelope, JSF contractor Lockheed Martin said in February.

The Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, a highly modified Boeing 737 known as CATBird, completed eight test missions and logged 24.8 flight hours.

The aircraft’s mission is to develop and verify the F-35’s capability to collect data from multiple sensors and fuse it into a coherent situational awareness display, Lockheed Martin said.

BAE Systems is responsible for the aircraft’s modifications. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin reported that its first F-35 Lightning II aircraft successfully tested a wide range of systems and demonstrated "uncommon reliability" following its inaugural flight in December.

The aircraft had made several flights to calibrate its air-data system and evaluate the radio, communication and navigational systems.

Military 737 Derivative

Boeing delivered the first of three modified C-40C transport aircraft to the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) in February.

The 932nd and 375th Airlift Wings will use the aircraft, a derivative of the Next Generation 737-700 Boeing Business Jet, to transport congressional delegations and senior government personnel on official business.

The modifications include military avionics that augment the commercial flight deck; a rewired interior that accommodates satellite communications equipment for passenger use; an interior that comprises 40 business-class seats, two work areas with conference tables and accommodations for 11 crew members; and auxiliary fuel tanks that extend the aircraft’s range to about 4,400 nautical miles.

"To facilitate the assembly process, we leveraged the company’s commercial 737 investment and infrastructure," said Ron Marcotte, vice president and general manager of Boeing Global Mobility Systems. "We then spent nine months modifying the aircraft to meet our AFRC customer’s unique military and mission requirements, while retaining as much of the commercial aircraft as possible."

Lockheed Martin Shifts

Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, Md., realigned some of its business areas, which it said will "enhance support for critical customer missions and increase the corporation’s integration of resources in areas of solid growth potential."

The Integrated Systems & Solutions (IS&S) business area and the Information Technology and Global Services (IT&GS) business area will be combined.

The new business area will be named Information Systems and Global Services (IS&GS) and will be led by Linda Gooden, who is executive vice president of IT&GS. The new business area will include most of the existing components of the current IT&GS and IS&S organizations.

However, Aircraft and Logistics Centers, now part of IT&GS, will report to the Aeronautics business area. Transportation and Security Solutions, now part of Electronic Systems, will become part of IS&GS.

Separately, IS&S Executive Vice President Stan Sloane is retiring from the corporation and has accepted a position with another company.

‘Extended’ 1553

Edgewater Computer Systems said it successfully demonstrated its Extended 1553 (E1553) data bus technology on a U.S. Navy A-3 jet operated by Raytheon at the latter company’s Van Nuys, Calif., flight-test center.

Edgewater said the technology, also known as the Mil-Std-1553B Notice 5 revision, increases data throughput by up to 200 times over the legacy 1553B data bus without the need for rewiring or changing the existing infrastructure of the platform.

The E1553 technology previously was demonstrated in a number of developmental and simulation environments including the C-130, F-16 and F-18, Edgewater said.

During the A-3 test last December, the rate monitor maintained a consistent connection of greater than 100 Mbps through the entire flight, Edgewater said.

"Adding high capacity networking across the existing 1553 bus without changing the legacy software or disrupting the legacy communications has tremendous implications vis-à-vis an open-architecture approach for cost-effective, robust networking, and promotes key interfaces that enable substantial increases in capability with minimal impact to the warfighter," said Gerard Walles, with the Naval Air Systems Command.

Super Cobra Cockpit

A team including Bell Helicopter and Northrop Grumman is supplying glass cockpit avionics for first production models of the U.S. Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter and the UH-1Y utility helicopter.

The Northrop Grumman-built Integrated Avionics System (IAS) provides the helicopters with an interoperable glass cockpit and fully integrated avionics system anchored by two mission computers.

Built by Bell Helicopter, the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters were delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps in Amarillo, Texas, in January.

Northrop Grumman said the IAS eliminates single points of failure, enhances aircraft reliability and safety and reduces power consumption.

Under terms of its agreement with Bell, Northrop Grumman will supply IAS glass cockpits for 180 AH-1Z and 100 UH-1Y helicopters.

L-3 Ruggedized Command and Controls Solutions, San Diego, will supply the multifunction displays and Smiths Aerospace will supply the weapons stores control and data transfer system for the aircraft.

CAE Acquires Engenuity

Canadian simulator company CAE said it would acquire Engenuity Technologies for $19.6 million to expand its military business. The transaction was expected to close in April.

Engenuity Technologies, based in Montreal, develops commercial-off-the-shelf simulation and visualization software for the aerospace and defense markets..

Its core products include VAPS, a software product used by aircraft and automobile designers to create models and simulations of cockpit displays and STAGE, a simulation toolkit used to create and interconnect simulation environments.

"The acquisition of Engenuity Technologies is another step in our growth strategy in our military business," said Marc Parent, CAE’s president of simulation products and military training and service.

"Engenuity will add new technologies, an established customer base and effective sales channels to accelerate our growth initiatives," he said.

UAV Interoperability

Boeing and its ScanEagle team achieved compliance with NATO’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) interoperability standard.

Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4586 establishes specifications for a common ground station system for UAVs used by NATO military forces.

Compliance allows NATO member nations to jointly support military operations using their own UAVs and ground control stations.

Data and information processed by member nations’ UAVs can be shared in real time through a common ground interface.

Boeing and UAV developer Insitu, of Bingen, Wash., flew a three-hour simulated mission to demonstrate various functions and levels of the STANAG 4586 specification. The systems tested included a ScanEagle Vehicle Specific Module, an Insitu Multiple UAV Software Environment ground station, and an "Army One" ground control station Common UAV Control Software package developed by CDL Systems Ltd.

SkyWatcher UAV

Proxy Aviation Systems, Germantown, Md., said it completed testing the automatic take-off and landing capabilities of its SkyWatcher unmanned air vehicle (UAV).

The U.S. Force sponsored and cooperated in the demonstration, which took place at Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, Ariz., last December.

Proxy said the UAV is the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance component of SkyForce, its network-centric unmanned aircraft system.

SkyForce is designed to control up to 12 fully autonomous air vehicles, and has the ability to make fully independent decisions during flight without human intervention.

Aqua Puma UAV

AeroVironment, Monrovia, Calif., said it completed sea trials of its Aqua Puma unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the Royal Australian Navy.

The Aqua Puma is launched by hand, lands directly onto the sea surface, and is recovered by hand from vessels.

"Continued expansion into foreign markets is a key objective of the company. Successful trials such as these with the Royal Australian Navy are early but important steps toward the realization of that strategy," said Ilker Bayraktar, AeroVironment’s vice president of international business development.

The Australian Department of Defense has been using AeroVironment’s RQ-11 Raven UAS since 2005.

Lockheed Martin UAV Tests

Lockheed Martin said it completed the second of a series of tests of a centralized controller device for unmanned air and ground vehicles.

During the tests, Lockheed Martin demonstrated control of three different unmanned systems with its second-generation prototype device.

The unmanned systems included the iRobot PackBot small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV); the Honeywell Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) unmanned air vehicle and a Lockheed Martin medium-size UGV demonstrator. Phase I demonstrations occurred in December 2006.

The centralized controller prototype, manufactured by Esterline Mason Controls, incorporates a touchscreen, hand grips and several switches.

In the latest demonstrations, different radio links were demonstrated in conjunction with the centralized controller, including UHF, L-band and S-band IEEE 802.11b.

UAE Support Center

France’s Thales opened a customer service support center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Thales said the support center will provide assistance to both civil and military customers in the region where Thales Air Systems has an installed base.

This includes weapon systems, ground and naval radars, civil air traffic control centers and radars.

"The proximity of the support center with our customers is the opportunity... to strengthen our historical presence in the region," said Rémi Gille, Thales Air Systems vice president.

Contracts

Canadian company CAE said it signed $63.5 million in contracts to provide five full-flight simulators to three airlines.

L-3 Communications said its Link Simulation and Training division won two U.S. military trainer and related support contracts worth more than $66 million.

L-3 Communications said its Link Simulation and Training division received a $40.9 million contract from the Swiss government to build four networked F/A-18C Tactical Operational Flight Trainers.

Canadian flight simulator company CAE said it won several military contracts in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada valued at more than $35 million.

Unmanned aircraft developer AeroVironment Corp., Monrovia, Calif., won a $48.6 million contract from the U.S. Army to supply its RQ-11 small unmanned aircraft, known as the Raven.

Northrop Grumman won a $16 million contract to provide two additional MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical takeoff and landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles for the U.S. Navy. Including this award, the Navy has a total of nine Fire Scouts.

Northrop Grumman signed an agreement with the Finnish Air Force to provide its Litening Advanced Targeting system for its F-18 Mid-life Update 2 program. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MTC Technologies won a $6.79 million contract to update Air Navigation Multiple Indicator Line Replaceable Unit for the F-15 "Eagle" fighter.

Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Systems and Sensors Division won a $186.5 million contract modification to provide seven P-3 aircraft mission systems for Pakistan.

FAA awarded Formation, Inc., Moorestown, N.J., a $5.7 million contract to design, develop, flight-qualify and produce its Data Collector Correlator avionics box.

Sweden-based Saab Avitronics won a $13 million contract to develop, produce and support a Terrain Masking Low Level Flight Computer for the German Army’s A400M transport aircraft.

A unit of Rockwell Collins won a $24 million repair and maintenance contract for communication and navigation equipment for U.S. Navy aircraft.

Lockheed Martin received a contract from the U.K. Ministry of Defense to supply Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod systems for the Harrier GR9 aircraft. Financial terms and the quantity of the systems ordered were not disclosed.

Northrop Grumman won a contract to integrate its AN/APN-241 low-power color weather and navigation radar on the C-295 aircraft for the Portuguese Air Force. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lockheed Martin won an $186.5 million Foreign Military Sale contract from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command to provide mission system upgrades and sustainment work for seven P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft for Pakistan.

Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems won a $39 million contract from AgustaWestland to provide the multi-mode e-scan surveillance radar for the British Ministry of Defense’s "Future Lynx" helicopter program.

Raytheon Technical Services Co., a Raytheon subsidiary, received two U.S. Navy contracts worth $27.7 million to provide services and systems for the V-22 Osprey aircraft.

DRS Technologies, Parsippany, N.J., received a $20 million contract from Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems division to support the initial phase of the new Silent Knight Tactical Radar program.

Avionics & Systems Integration Group, Maumelle, Ark., reached an agreement with Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. to provide engineering, certification program management and data generation services for new aircraft deliveries. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Rockwell Collins said it won a contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to lead Phase 1 of a research and development effort aimed at miniaturizing Kuband radio technology and developing a terminal capable of supporting Small Unmanned Air Systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lockheed Martin said it won a $311 million follow-on production contract from the U.S. Army to provide Arrowhead systems, an electro-optical system for AH-64 Apache combat helicopter pilots. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Teledyne Controls said it signed an agreement with aircraft leasing company CIT Aerospace to become the standard supplier of Digital Flight Data Acquisition Units for its new Boeing aircraft deliveries. Financial terms were not disclosed.

For more detailed information on contracts, visit www.aviationtoday.com.

Clarifications

A February article in Avionics misspelled the name of Bob Gunning, Lockheed Martin’s Apache Fire Control program director.

The hiring of Steve Long was inadvertently printed in the People section on two occasions, in the December and February issues.

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