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Tuesday, August 1, 2006

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AESA Radar Enters Operational Evaluation

The U.S. Navy has cleared Raytheon's APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to enter the service's operational evaluation (OPEVAL) program. The APG-79 will be used on the Navy's Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. According to Raytheon, the AESA radar provides improvements to search volume, detection and target track ranges. The sensor performs air-to-air and air-to-ground functions virtually simultaneously, increasing pilot situational awareness. The approval comes after tests earlier this year. In May a Super Hornet equipped with the AESA radar detected and tracked multiple targets at long stand-off distances and conducted live-fire tests with Raytheon's AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). The tests included tracking and targeting drone aircraft while using multiple AMRAAMs and supporting several data links. Final radar and weapons system testing wrapped up in June with further AMRAAM testing against long-range targets. The Navy plans to install APG-79 radars on 415 of its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft, including 135 retrofits. Visit www.raytheon.com and www.boeing.com.

UAV Operating System

EADS Military Air Systems, part of the company's Defence and Security Systems division, has chosen system software from the German company, SYSGO, for its future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program. EADS will incorporate SYSGO's real-time operating system, PikeOS, into its long-range, medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV, shown above. The unmanned aircraft will be used for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. PikeOS is an open and modular platform for flight management system/mission management system (FMS/MMS) avionics. In the future UAV design, PikeOS will be used to integrate various existing avionics units, previously linked to other commercial operating systems, into a single commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) unit that runs PikeOS software. The new activity is part of a development project sponsored by the German Ministry of Defense's Research and Procurement Agency to help reduce the overall cost of avionics systems by incorporating several units into a single platform. According to SYSGO, PikeOS also allows the use of Linux-based open source components for non-critical avionics applications. Visit www.sysgo.com and www.eads.com.

GPS Receiver

The U.S. Air Force has awarded contracts to two electronics manufacturers for the design and development of a next-generation GPS receiver. The agreements with Rockwell Collins and L-3 Communications subsidiary, Interstate Electronics Corp. (IEC), are part of the USAF Modernized User Equipment (MUE) program. The Air Force NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office granted IEC a $37-million contract for the first phase of the MUE program, covering the design and development of the GPS receiver, which is intended for military applications such as aircraft avionics. The company's system on a chip (SOC) approach will be integrated into its new line of TruTrak M-Code GPS receivers. The agreement is potentially worth up to $90.6 million with future options.

Rockwell Collins will develop receiver cards for the MUE program under a $28-million contract with USAF Space and Missile Systems Center. That agreement covers the preliminary design of the receiver cards for airborne and ground-based applications, and runs through October 2007. Visit www.l-3com.com and www.rockwellcollins.com.

Radar Warning System

Elta Systems, an Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) company, has launched its EL/L-8265RWL, a compact radar warning and high-accuracy location system for manned and unmanned aircraft. The unit, which combines radar warning receiver with electronic support measures (ESM) capabilities, is designed for dense and complex environments. It can identify, intercept and measure all radar types in a given area. Features include frequency band coverage from 2 to 18 GHz; spatial coverage of 360 degrees; digital receiver technology; and automatic threat detection. Visit www.iai.co.il.

MIDS Order

ViaSat has obtained a $39.5-million delivery order from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego for Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) terminals. The deal consists of purchases from the United States, as well as orders from Portugal and Turkey through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. Germany will receive equipment through a memorandum of understanding signed by the five founding MIDS nations. The award includes airborne low volume terminals (LVTs) for F/A-18, E/A-18G, F-16 and AC-130 aircraft and the MH-60R helicopter, among other things. The order also includes ground-based low volume terminals and spares for various U.S. Air Force and Army programs. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in June 2007, continuing through 2009. The MIDS-LVT provides secure, jam-resistant, digital data and voice communications for the U.S. military and U.S. defense partners. Visit www.viasat.com.

AESA Antenna

Working closely with Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman has conducted initial flight tests on an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar antenna for the U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber. The tests gave engineers from both companies an initial look at how the AESA antenna reacts in actual flight conditions. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems supplies the AESA antennas under a $382-million USAF system development and demonstration contract with the two companies. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com and www.raytheon.com.

Data Management

Jade Cargo International, a joint venture between Shenzhen Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo and German company, DEG, has chosen Teledyne Controls' integrated data management unit (iDMU) for its new Boeing 747-400s. A successor of Teledyne's legacy DMU, the iDMU is designed to supply aircraft condition monitoring and data recording functions. Teledyne says the unit is lighter and more reliable than its predecessor, with lower maintenance costs. The iDMU features a programmable interface that allows airlines to customize aircraft condition monitoring system (ACMS) applications. Visit www.teledynecontrols.com.

Electronics Research

Thales has formed a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta to initiate several doctoral programs in areas of applied electronics.

Beginning in late summer 2006, the two organizations plan to launch Ph.D. programs involving air traffic control, radar algorithms and the optimization of complex systems. Those programs may be followed by more advanced projects conducted by joint research teams. The agreement supports both parties' efforts to expand internationally. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.

Missile Warning System

BAE Systems of Nashua, N.H., has received a five-year contract for its common missile warning system (CMWS) for use on the U.S. Army's fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. As part of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award with a maximum value of $1.4 billion, the Army has ordered 80 CMWS systems for $23.2 million. The CMWS system, an advanced threat infrared countermeasures (ATIRCM) unit, provides protection from heat-seeking missiles. It is currently operational on multiple Army helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Visit www.baesystems.com.

UAV Video

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has selected the Australian company, Mediaware, to supply the Predator unmanned aircraft system with enhanced digital video capture and exploitation capability. Under the contract, Mediaware will help engineer, develop and incorporate video and data enhancements into the Predator's ground control station (GCS), providing improved video and metadata capture, as well as exploitation and dissemination. Mediaware's software will combine Predator position information and sensor video into a single digital video stream, which then can be transferred in real time from the GCS. Visit www.mediaware.com.au.

Autopilot

Under an agreement with EADS North America, Sagem Defense Securite Safran Group company, will supply various avionics equipage for 322 U.S. Army UH-145 light utility helicopters on order from Eurocopter, with options for another 30 aircraft. Included in the deal is Sagem's latest-generation autopilot system, which uses two APM 2000 flight control computers, attitude and positioning inertial reference system (APIRS) sensors, and a control unit on the center console. The APM 2000 computer incorporates fiber optic gyro (FOG) and silicon accelerometer technologies. The package also comes with miscellaneous flight data acquisition units (MFDAUs) and flight control actuators for flight and trim control. Visit www.sagem-ds.com.

AESA Radar

UK-based Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems has conducted the first flight of PicoSAR, a lightweight active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Selex, which is owned by Finmeccanica (75 percent) and BAE Systems (25 percent), tested the ground mapping and targeting device at various altitudes from 3,000 to 9,500 feet. Flights using the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) were conducted on an ASS-355 Twin Squirrel helicopter from Cumbernauld, Scotland. PicoSAR is designed for small platforms such as unmanned air vehicles and helicopters. Visit www.selex-sas.com.

Displays

Stevens Aviation, an avionics, maintenance and modifications provider in Greensville, S.C., is developing an avionics upgrade--Lear 25 Platinum--for Best Jets of Denison, Texas. The modifications include Universal Avionics' 890R display with synthetic vision, terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) communications and navigation equipment, radio control units, attitude heading reference system (AHRS), reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) equipment, DME, traffic display and audio system. Visit www.stevensaviation.com.

Satcom System

Duncan Aviation, a Battle Creek, Mich.-based aircraft modifications provider, has received an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) to install AirCell's Axxess wireless and broadband-ready satcom system on a Dassault Falcon 2000. Duncan says it is the first Falcon 2000 to use the multichannel Axxess system. Iridium satellite channels for voice and narrowband data communications can be added as part of the STC. The system's Ethernet port will allow future installation of an Inmarsat broadband connection on a plug-and-play basis. Visit www.duncan-aviation.com and www.aircell.com.

ADS-B Ground Stations

Airservices Australia has commissioned an enhanced version of the Australian Advanced Air Traffic Control System (TAATS) incorporating new automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) processing and display capabilities. The enhanced TAATS supports deployment of ADS-B ground stations throughout Australia. According to Thales, five ADS-B ground stations are being incorporated into the system in the near future, with another 23 stations to be integrated over the next year. ADS-B provides aircraft position, altitude and airspeed data to air traffic controllers independent of traditional radar systems. The Australian air traffic system controls more than 3 million aircraft movements per year. Visit www.thales.com.

Cockpit Upgrade

Under a multimillion-dollar deal, ASB Avionics of Mojave, Calif., has agreed to modify the avionics systems of an L-382G--a commercial version of the C-130. Scheduled to run though September 2006, the upgrade features Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics system and automatic flight control system (AFCS) and Rockwell Collins' HGS-4000 head-up guidance system. It also includes Honeywell's Mark VII enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), satcom, dual engine and system indication system (ESIS), dual HFS-700 with ASB's dorsal fin HF shunt antenna, traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) and weather radar. Visit www.asbavionics.com.

Missile Protection

G-Force, a new system designed to protect aircraft from missile strikes, has been unveiled by the Elisra Group of Israel. Based on thermal imaging technology, the G-Force concept allows accurate threat reports to be issued in time to take action. The system would provide a ground-based "protection umbrella" surrounding airports to protect aircraft during takeoff and landing. Visit www.elisra.com.

Communications

The New York Air National Guard (NYANG) has installed equipment that uses Iridium's satellite network of voice and data communications in its fleet of C-130s. The aircraft have been equipped with Iridium handsets, as well as communications interfaces from New Zealand-based Flightcell, in support of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Operation Deep Freeze research in Antarctica. The Flightcell interfaces allow pilots to use the Iridium handsets in high-noise environments. NYANG flies more than 500 missions each year in support of NSF scientists involved in the U.S. Antarctic Program. Visit www.iridium.com.

Core Network Cabinet

Rockwell Collins has delivered the first group of its Core Network cabinets for the Boeing 787 program. The Core Network, part of Boeing's goal to "e-enable" the 787, serves as a host for many third-party applications and a manager for onboard information flow. The cabinets delivered will support the development of the 787's health maintenance system. Rockwell Collins also will supply the aircraft's flight deck display system, crew alerting system, communications, surveillance and common data network. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com and www.boeing.com.

Daily News Feed
Aviation Today, an Internet portal for Avionics Magazine, Aviation Maintenance, Rotor & Wing and related Access Intelligence publications, now features a daily news feed, "Today's Top Stories." Visit www.aviationtoday.com.

Interface
Tech S.A.T GmbH now offers a fiber optic interface that is compliant with the Boeing 787 implementation of the ARINC 664, avionics full duplex switched (AFDX) Ethernet port. Visit www.techsat.com.

NV Sensor
Lockheed Martin has received a follow-on contract to provide Arrowhead units for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Arrowhead is a modernized target acquisition and designation sight/pilot night vision sensor (M-TADS/PNVS). Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.

Simulator
UPS has awarded Minneapolis-based Aerosim Technologies a two-year contract to provide Web-based flight management system (FMS) training. The award allows continued use of Aerosim's FMS trainer software. Visit www.aerosim.com.

Target Drones
BAE Systems has obtained a U.S. Air Force contract to convert 20 F-4 Phantoms into QF-4 aerial target drones. Air Force pilots will use the drones to perform air combat maneuver training. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Acquisition
AAI Corp. has acquired Aerosonde, an Australian developer and manufacturer of unmanned air vehicle systems. Visit www.aaicorp.com.

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