Monday, August 1, 2005
Thales and Sagem Defense Security have joined to develop upgrade solutions for Dassault combat aircraft, with the exception of the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. Thales' expertise will be in radars, electronic warfare, communications and laser designation pods, while Sagem will focus on navigation and mission planning systems. Visit www.thalesgroup.com and www.sagem.com.
China Eastern Airlines has selected Rockwell Collins to provide sensors and radar equipment for 20 new Airbus A330s. The package includes the Collins GLU-920 multimode receiver and WXR-2100 multiscan hazard weather detection system. Deliveries will begin in 2006. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Radstone Embedded Computing has expanded its Billerica, Mass., office. It will transfer to the larger facility most of its North American headquarters functions, now in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Visit www.radstone.com.
DRS Technologies Inc., Parsippany, N.J., has acquired West Palm Beach, Fla.-based WalkAbout Computers Inc., a manufacturer of rugged tablet PCs. The company was acquired from Scorpion Holdings in a stock purchase transaction. Visit www.drs.com .
Honeywell's TPA-100A traffic surveillance system, which tracks aircraft up to 100 nm away and displays the identification of aircraft at even greater distances, has received FAA certication on the Airbus A330 and A340. Visit www.honeywell.com.
New B767 Cockpit
Exton, Pa., has teamed with the air cargo carrier and maintenance service provider, ABX Air Inc. (former Airborne Express), Wilmington, Ohio, to offer Boeing 767-200/300 operators a cockpit upgrade with flat panel displays. The installation--which includes four 10-inch diagonal displays, a primary flight display and nav display on each side of the cockpit--replaces both analog systems and the 767's cathode ray tube (CRT) electronic flight instrument system (EFIS). In Wilmington, the two companies are installing the displays in a B767 that ABX recently acquired, adding to its fleet of about 25 B767s. The companies expect an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) by this autumn. The ABX Air-developed turnkey installation includes kits and labor, pilot training and technical manual updates. The company says pilot training can take place while the aircraft cockpit is being modified. An IS&S official says the companies also are prepared to produce kits for the B757, which has an avionics architecture comparable to the B767's. Visit www.innovative-ss.com.
EADS Defence Electronics recently conducted successful flight tests of the missile launch detection system (MILDS) on a Royal Danish Air Force F-16 at an RDAF airfield in Aalborg, Denmark. The sensor system detects and tracks the ultraviolet emissions of approaching missiles, including heat-seeking, shoulder-launched missiles.
The flight tests were to collect reference data of the MILDS, operating in combat situations. The data, to be used for MILDS software development, was recorded in such scenarios as afterburner operations, missile firings and flare ejections from ownship and wingman aircraft. RDAF's Air Material Command contracted EADS in July 2004 to deliver the MILDS system for its F-16 fleet. Visit www.eads.com.
In an effort to get a handle on the development and use of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) across the military, the U.S. Department of Defense has established a Joint UAV Overarching Integrated Product Team (OIPT) and a Joint UAV Center of Excellence (COE).
The OIPT will promote standardization and commonality of UAV systems and components through shared research and development. The COE, to be established at Creech AFB, Nev., later this year, will focus on the use of sensors and intelligence collection assets and on joint concepts, training, tactics and procedures. Visit www.defenselink.mil.
Air Canada IFE
Air Canada has selected Thales' TopSeries i-4500 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system for its entire fleet. The carrier's 241 aircraft include: Airbus A319s, 320s, 321s, 330s and 340s; Boeing 767s; Canadair CRJs; and Embraer regional jets. The i-4500 system provides digital audio and video on demand (AVOD) with in-seat, wide-screen displays. Test systems will be fitted to a CRJ-705 and an Embraer 175/190 by the end of 2005, marking the first installation of a digital AVOD IFE system on a regional aircraft, according to Thales. Visit www.thales-avionics.com.
Malaysian Advisory System
Malaysia Airlines will equip its 92 aircraft and three flight simulators with Honeywell's runway awareness and advisory system (RAAS), the first Asian carrier to do so. The runway safety software, hosted on Honeywell's enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), uses GPS to monitor the airplane's location and compares it to a runway map. Visit www.honeywell.com.
Thales has announced two deals with Russian companies, one to equip a military aircraft and one involving a civil aircraft. The Paris-based manufacturer will supply the Russian Aircraft Corp. "MiG" with 20 helmet-mounted displays for an undisclosed customer buying MiG-29 combat aircraft. And Thales was selected by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft to provide the avionics suite for the new Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), which is to be ready for export in 2007. In a partnership arrangement with Sukhoi, Thales will be the integrator, as well as the avionics supplier, for the RRJ. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has contracted Michigan Aerospace Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich., to produce a receiver for the agency's airborne wind measurement system. Based on light detection and ranging (Lidar) technology, the system is to enable accurate wind measurements and storm prediction in clear air from manned and unmanned air vehicles.
The receiver, planned for aircraft operating for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), processes the atmospheric data. Michigan Aerospace plans to deliver the receiver to the NASA center in September. Visit www.michiganaerospace.com.
Black Hawk Satcom
The U.S. Army has contracted Atlas Telecom Services, Reston, Va., to provide EMS Satcom's eNfusion line of broadband satellite communications systems to support airborne battle command operations. The systems will provide real-time satellite communications for the EUH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter's Army Airborne Command and Control System. The contract is valued at approximately $2.5 million. Visit www.atsusa1.com and www.emssatcom.com.
Northrop Grumman has begun updating the electronic warfare self-protection system on board the U.S. Air Force's B-52 bomber aircraft. The company will install digital replacement cards for the control indicator-programmer portion of the AN/ALQ-155(V) electronic countermeasures system. The new cards, replacing analog technology with digital, are to provide greater radio frequency stability, lower initial costs and less maintenance.
Northrop Grumman will make further updates to the AN/ALQ-155(V) system by adding miniature microwave power module-transmitter technology. The company also will add integrated monolithic microwave and digital exciter systems, as well as additional commercial processors. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.
Honeywell's 13-inch (33-cm) autonomous surveillance aircraft, the micro air vehicle (MAV), has completed its first untethered flight at the MANTIC test facility near Laguna, N.M. During testing the MAV executed an autonomous takeoff, waypoint translations and landing.
Honeywell designed the small craft to provide soldiers with a portable surveillance tool. The MAV can be transported on a soldier's back and used for security and target acquisition in combat environments, as well as for surveillance. Visit www.honeywell.com.
Honeywell has flight tested a communications management unit (CMU), using industry-standard encryption technology to protect data link messages sent and received over the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS). The company's Secure ACARS software is designed to prevent message interception, ensure that a message is from a legitimate source, and guarantee data integrity. In addition, the system is designed to be compatible with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO's) security requirements for future air traffic control data link communications. Visit www.honeywell.com.
The relentless threat of terrorism and continuance of crime have prompted several law-enforcement agencies to equip their rotorcraft with new sensor devices.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has placed a follow-on order with L-3 Communications' Wescam subsidiary for advanced imaging technology to support the department's surveillance, homeland security and counterterrorism functions. The NYPD will receive from the Burlington, Ontario-based company a 12DS200 and MX-15 multispectral imaging turrets and a portable AzTrack digital microwave receiver for use in its fleet of law-enforcement helicopters.
Meanwhile, the Dale County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office, Arizona Department of Public Services, and St. Louis County (Mo.) Police Department have installed the modular, gyro-stabilized POP200 Plug-in Optronic Payload produced by Israel Aircraft Industries' Tamam Division. The POP200 includes a focal plane array, thermal imager, a color TV camera, automatic video tracking and a laser pointer. While the pilot flies the aircraft, the observer on board operates the sensor system, using a hand control unit and video monitor. Visit www.l-3com.com and www.iai.co.il.
Phase 2 GEMS
The U.S. Air Force has selected Rockwell Collins as the prime contractor for phase 2 of the Ground Element Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network System (GEMS) program. Valued at $350 million over a six-year period, the program is meant to replace the Air Force's and Navy's fixed and deployable communications for bomber, tanker, reconnaissance and other alert communications facilities with such improvements as extremely high frequency (EHF)/advanced EHF satellite communications and redundant, very low frequency (VLF) communications for critical strategic message traffic. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Air France's A380 IFE
Thales has signed a contract with Air France to equip the carrier's fleet of Airbus A380s (10 aircraft and four options) with its Top-
Series i5000 in-flight entertainment system. Aircraft on the Montreal and New York routes will be the first equipped, followed by the A380s that Air France will fly to Beijing and Tokyo. Thales also has teamed with Malaysia Airlines to establish an A380 IFE repair and support facility in Subang, Malaysia. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has granted Boeing $175 million to continue demonstrations of its X-45C unmanned air vehicle (UAV) under the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) development program. The award continues existing work and funds a full demonstration of autonomous aerial refueling between a KC-135 tanker and an X-45C, expected to take place in 2010. Visit www.boeing.com.
The U.S. Coast Guard has placed an order with GE Infrastructure Sensing for 40 Druck ADTS405F air data test sets for the calibration of cockpit instrumentation on its helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The fully automated system includes a remote hand-held terminal that allows a user to perform testing while seated in the cockpit. The ADTS405F can be used to calibrate altimeters, airspeed indicators, Mach meters and vertical speed indicators. Deliveries will be made to the USCG's Elizabeth City, N.C., base this summer. Visit www.ge.com.
The U.S. Army and Coast Guard have selected Smiths Aerospace products for their helicopter fleets. The Army awarded a $5-million contract for Smiths Aerospace to install and demonstrate a health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) on UH-60L utility helicopters. The service hopes to reduce support costs with the HUMS.
Also, the U.S. Coast Guard and Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are to receive Smiths Aerospace's crash-survivable cockpit voice and data recording systems. The systems, worth a total of more than $4 million, will be installed in the 160th's MH-47s and MH-60s, and the Coast Guard's HH-60s and HH-65s. Visit www.smiths-aerospace.com.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has selected Connexion by Boeing to provide high-speed Internet connectivity and live global TV service to its fleet of 25 aircraft. The terms of the agreement call for both in-line and retrofit installation on the carrier's Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and Airbus A330, A340 and A380 aircraft. Visit www.connexionbyboeing.com.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (DoA's) Forest Service (USFS) has outfitted 200 contracted aircraft with Iridium equipment as part of an automated flight following (AFF) program. Most of the satcom-equipped aircraft are helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers used to fight wild fires and perform other natural resources missions. Iridium, the AFF provider of voice and data communications between the aircraft and the ground, is partnered with Blue Sky Network, Latitude Technologies, Sky Connect and SkyTrac Systems, all of which produce systems that process and manage flight following and voice/data communications. DoA requires that contracted aircraft are equipped with one of these systems.
With AFF and the Iridium service, the pilots of government-contracted aircraft, which must be flown under visual flight rules, no longer have to establish voice communications every 15 to 30 minutes to report their positions and mission status. The AFF system automatically informs dispatchers of an aircraft's position, determined by onboard GPS. And the satellite data link allows messages to be sent with just the push of a button, to report when a water load is being picked up, dumped, etc. The AFF program's pilot phase was completed in 2003 and initial implementation began in 2004. Visit www.iridium.com.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $350,000 contract to Phasebridge Inc., Pasadena, Calif., to further the development of an optical radio frequency (RF) quadrature phase-shift-keyed (QPSK) technique and analyze its applications in ultra-wideband and frequency-agile military radios. The technique will be used to imprint data during the frequency synthesis process in "photonic radios."
Under the contract, Phasebridge will "optimize the implementation of QPSK modulation as it pertains to ultra-wideband RF photonic heterodyne frequency synthesis and RF photonic frequency conversion," explains Ron Logan, the company's founder and chief technology officer. "The photonic radio system architecture then integrates these frequency synthesis and conversion methods into a system that permits a baseband-frequency terminal to access channel frequencies over an extremely wide range of microwave through millimeter-wave channel frequencies." Visit www.phasebridge.com.
B-1B Threat Display
Rockwell Collins will provide the display for the B-1B's upgraded threat situational awareness system under a contract from Boeing. The 6-inch multifunction displays are designed to present flight information, but also to enable in-flight mission planning and support Link 16 and other data links, improving targeting and threat avoidance. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
NavCom Technology, Torrance, Calif., has signed Espatial Resources as a dealer, serving Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Visit www.nacomtech.com.
In our July 2005 Product Focus (page 36), in which we discuss the evolution of digital flight data acquisition units (DFDAUs) and how these devices are being defined more as software than as hardware, some of the text was inadvertently omitted. The deleted text reads as follows:
"The traditional FDAU that reads analog inputs and makes conversions [to digital form]--that's gone," exclaims Stylian Cocalides, vice president of Avionica Inc. "Now the data [to the flight data recorder] is digital, and we've pushed the analog conversion to the subassemblies computers, such as the flaps managment computer." These DFDAUFs (F for function) already reside in integrated avionics cabinets installed in Bombardier CRJs and the Embraer ARJ 135 and 145. The Boeing 777 has the DFDAUF in its aircraft information management system (AIMS).
We regret the omission.