Wednesday, January 1, 2003
Northrop Grumman has announced the integration of its LITENING Extended Range (ER) precision targeting system onto U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter aircraft. The LITENING ER system is a self-contained, multisensor laser target designating and navigation system for the detection, acquisition, tracking and identification of ground targets for conventional and precision-guided weapons delivery. LITENING ER pods are fielded with Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8Bs. (The pod is shown here on an AV-8B’s right wing.) The predecessor, LITENING II system also is used on ANG/Air Force Reserves Command F-16s and USMC AV-8Bs, as well as by Italian and Spanish forces. The F-15E integration could lead to an opportunity aboard the F-15K for South Korea. The company also has received a $19.3-million contract for the LITENING ER pods on ANG F-16s and has demonstrated the capability on an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Visit www.northgrum.com.
The new Thales Avionics/Smiths Aerospace flight management system (FMS) was launched into revenue service on a Frontier Airlines’ Airbus 319 in mid-October 2002. Alitalia was expected to follow suit in November. Frontier is retrofitting its entire A319 fleet with the equipment, and the Italian carrier plans to install the FMS on five A319s and five A321s. America West also is expected to equip five A319s. The new system adds a liquid crystal, multifunctional control display unit (MCDU), a 5-megabyte navigation database (the largest available for Airbus aircraft) and features, such as multirevision temporary flight plan, undo function and improved DIR TO. The project drew upon Smiths’ expertise in FMS systems and Thales’ knowledge of Airbus architectures and man-machine interfaces. Visit www.smiths-aerospace.com and www.thales-avionics.com.
Harris Corp. and Lockheed Martin announced at the 47th annual Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference that they have formed a strategic alliance to jointly pursue opportunities in airspace management throughout the world. The two companies estimate a $5-billion market in which they could propose solutions for air traffic management, navigation, traffic flow management, communications and weather. They will combine Harris’ strengths in communications and weather with Lockheed Martin’s strengths in air traffic management. The company that takes the lead in a proposal would depend on the potential customer’s requirement. The alliance does not preclude situations in which the two companies may become competitors.
Harris is on a Lockheed-led team for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, awarded in June 2002, and Lockheed Martin is on the Harris-led team for the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) program, awarded in July 2002. Lockheed also is teamed with Harris for the FAA’s NEXCOM program. Visit www.harris.com and www.lockheedmartin.com/atm.
Synthetic Vision Tested
The first low-level approaches in a military environment using synthetic vision were recently performed by the U.S. Air Force’s 412th Flight Test Squadron in its C-135C Speckled Trout aircraft. Using Rockwell Collins’ synthetic vision technology, pilots from the 412th Squadron and Air Force Test Pilot School, flew more than 20 hours and made a zero/zero approach to a landing at an assault strip. The tests also demonstrated that crews could be alerted of possible dangers during low-level flight before the terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) warnings become necessary. According to Collins, the system was designed to provide intuitive guidance cues to reduce pilot workload and to enhance the safety of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing operations. Synthetic vision also was designed to be an integrated solution that utilizes conventional subsystems comparable to the TAWS, traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS), flight management system (FMS) and displays to warn crewmen of potential dangers. The synthetic vision tests represent the culmination of a two-year cooperative research agreement with the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson AFB. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Thales R&D Funds
Thales Avionics, Montreal, has received a $9.9-million (Can.)–$6-million (U.S.)–Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) investment sponsored by the Canadian government. The funds will be used for research and development in fly-by-wire flight control, enhanced vision (EVS) and required navigation performance (RNP) systems. In the fly-by-wire flight control domain, Thales plans to work toward equipment renewal, optimization and standardization. Thales’ EVS program, announced in January 2002, has advanced to the selection of CMC Electronics as sensor supplier, but much testing is still to be done to bring the product to market by 2005. The TPC investment also will help the company with a new project to design and develop RNP capability, primarily for regional and business aircraft. Visit www.thales-avionics.com.
North Atlantic Collaboration
The Federal Aviation Administration, with its trial program in Miami, is not alone in advancing controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC). On Nov. 13, 2002, Lufthansa flight 422 from Frankfurt to Boston, transmitted the first CPDLC messages over the North Atlantic to the oceanic air traffic control (ATC) centers in both Gander, Newfoundland, and Prestwick, Scotland. Now all Lufthansa flights across the North Atlantic use CPDLC, and other airlines, such as United, are preparing to do the same.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which oversees the North Atlantic region, is coordinating the establishment of trans-Atlantic CPDLC through its FANS (future air navigation system) Implementation Group (FIG). The FIG, in turn, initially is including Nav Canada and the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) in a multiphase CPDLC program.
In the first phase, FANS-equipped aircraft will transmit CPDLC messages, and then the centers will acknowledge via data link but will provide a response to pilots’ requests using HF voice. Phase two will be comparable to phase one, except the centers at Gander and Prestwick also will give pilots their frequency assignments via data link. In phase three comprehensive two-way data link communications will be established, using a set of 51 standard messages, which have been selected as a result of five years of documenting voice messages and working with airlines, according to John Fekkes, with Nav Canada’s automatic air traffic systems engineering and external programs.
Like the existing Pacific CPDLC program, the North Atlantic CPDLC project differs from FAA’s trials in Miami in that it uses the FANS data link over ACARS (airborne communications addressing and reporting system) instead of FAA’s choice, the aeronautical telecommunications network (ATN). The FANS data link service was established over the North Atlantic in January 2001 for automatic dependent surveillance (ADS). "Today, about 250 flights per day, or about one-third of the aircraft crossing the North Atlantic, are taking advantage of FANS communications," says Fekkes.
The Gander center made controller-pilot data link communications over the North Atlantic possible by first upgrading its Gander Automated Air Traffic System (GAATS) with integrated CPDLC capability, and then providing the Prestwick center a CPDLC workstation, "which is front-ended to its flight data processor," says Fekkes.
Under a recently signed agreement, Nav Canada and NATS plan to increase collaboration on new technologies, such as CPDLC, and decrease the development and in-service costs for oceanic systems through joint development and funding. Additional possibilities for collaboration include training, benchmarking performance, and market development. NATS and Nav Canada already are discussing the UK company’s use of a "development" of the Gander Automated Air Traffic System to replace the UK’s ocean flight data processing system. The new system will be known as the Shanwick Automated Air Traffic System (SAATS).
Independent of NATS, Nav Canada also plans to expand its domestic data link service into Canada’s northern airspace by making its Edmonton (Alberta) area control center CPDLC-capable in early 2004. Such an upgrade could facilitate air transport flights that take the polar routes between North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
Nav Canada recently selected Gallium Software Inc. to support Gander’s GAATS system and Edmonton’s Northern Airspace Display System (NADS). Gallium will enhance the two centers’ display systems and assure the systems can evolve as new technologies are introduced. The Ottawa, Ontario-based software provider worked with both Nav Canada and NATS to establish CPDLC over the North Atlantic. Visit www.navcanada.ca, www.nats.co.uk and www.gallium.com.
Rockwell Collins has demonstrated secure HF e-mail transmissions into the U.S. Defense Department’s (DoD’s) Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), as an addition to the Air Force SCOPE (System Capable of Planned Expansion) Command HF communications capability. The government-run demo used a Collins ARC-230 radio and HF Messenger equipment to transfer information through three SCOPE Command ground stations to and from a simulated airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft. This was the first time the Air Force has had the capability to transmit classified and secure e-mail worldwide into the secure government IP network via HF without needing to know the aircraft’s location, the company says.
Collins is completing the equipage of 15 HF ground stations worldwide. Under a separate contract the company supplies carry-on HF e-mail "briefcases" with laptops that connect to the ARC-230s. (Text, files, faxes, images and pictures can be exchanged.) The Air Force plans to equip its large KC-135 fleet (for which five portable units have been delivered) and has ordered 34 sets for AWACS aircraft. Typical message traffic today includes orders–where to go, what to do–plus weather and fuel information. The over-the-air data rate is up to 9.6 kilobits/sec. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
JTRS Waveform Test
ViaSat Inc., Carlsbad, Calif. Will develop, integrate, test, deliver and support the security architecture for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) wideband networking waveform (WNW). The JTRS software-programmable tactical radios will provide interoperable voice, data and video to U.S. military platforms. Visit www.viasat.com.
Heathrow’s New ILS
An instrument landing system (ILS) designed to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Category IIIB automated landing criteria recently was commissioned at London-Heathrow airport. The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) ordered the Park Air Systems AS Normarc 7000 ILS as part of a larger contract aimed at upgrading the landing systems at other NATS airports. Visit www.parkairsystems.com.
Aeromexico will install T2CAS (terrain and traffic collision avoidance system) equipment on its Boeing 757, 767 and MD-80 aircraft. The system was developed by ACSS, a company jointly owned by L-3 Communications and Thales. Visit www.thales-avionics.com and www.l-3com.com.
N-ODS to Maastricht
A new Operator Input and Display System (N-ODS), designed by Thales ATM to enhance man-machine interface, has entered operational service at the Eurocontrol Maastricht Upper Area Control Center, which handles more than 1.2 million flights a year. Visit www.thalesatm.com.
Spirent Support Contract
Spirent Systems will continue to support the Royal Air Force’s installed flight data replay and analysis system at the RAF’s 216 Squadron. The Ground Replay and Analysis Facility (GRAF) is used for operational monitoring, engine health monitoring, structural health monitoring and flight data recording system recertification. Visit www.spirent-systems.com.
General Aviation MFD
Honeywell plans to debut a low-cost multifunction display (MFD) for piston-powered general aviation aircraft in the spring of 2003. The 3-inch-high Bendix/King KMD 250 MFD, aimed at non-radar-equipped aircraft, will be able to present data-linked weather, lightning detection and traffic information (via optional safety sensors) on its active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD). Visit www.honeywell.com.
New ARSR-4 Console
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Litlington, UK-based Primagraphics a development contract to provide an upgraded display console for the air route surveillance radar Model 4 (ARSR-4), manufactured by Northrop Grumman. Located at 44 sites in the continental United States, Guam and Hawaii, the ARSR-4 provides air defense and air traffic control. Primagraphics hardware and software–from its Metro product line–will show radar video, weather and target information. Visit www.primagraphics.net.
C-17 Data Bus Recording
Boeing has selected Thales Computers to provide the single-board computer and PCI mezzanine card (PMC) carriers for use during test flights of the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. The new system, called AWODS (Advanced Work Order Distribution System), is designed to record all operational data from the nine Mil-Std-1553 data buses on board the C-17. Visit www.thalescomputers.com.
CJ3 Audio Control Panel
DB Systems Inc. has been selected to provide the audio control panel for Cessna’s new Citation CJ3 business jet. Rockwell Collins made the selection and will integrate the panel with the aircraft’s Collins Pro Line 21 digital radios. Visit www.dbsystemsinc.com.
Montreal-based CMC Electronics will supply GPS-based CMA-900 flight management systems and CMA-2102 high-gain satcom antenna systems as part of a Qantas Airways’ program to upgrade six Boeing 747-300 aircraft. The Qantas configuration uses fully integrated, triple GPS/FMS, triple inertial reference systems and electronic flight instrument systems. Visit www.cmcelectronics.ca.
Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) has been named to Forbes’200 Best Small Companies in 2002, ranked at 118th. The business magazine says it looked at public companies with sales of $5 million to $600 million. Visit www.innovative-ss.com.
In our December New Products section, we failed to give Specialty Enterprise Ltd.’s complete phone number. It is 301-990-7337.