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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

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ATC Institute

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has partnered with the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) to form an industry institute that will support the development of a state-of-the-art air traffic control system in the United States. Visit www.aia-aerospace.org.

Korean F-15

Northrop Grumman has delivered the first five production units of an enhanced internal electronic countermeasures system to Boeing for installation on the Korean Air Force's F-15Ks. The AN/ALQ-135 also is on F-15s flown by the U.S. and Royal Saudi air forces. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.

B787 Components

Honeywell has selected Crane Aerospace & Electronics, Lynnwood, Wash., to provide batteries and power control modules for the flight control electronics being developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Crane estimates the contract value at about $40 million. Visit www.craneaerospace.com.

F-15 Contract

Honeywell will provide Warner Robins Air Logistics Center with maintenance, spare parts and engineering for the automatic test systems used for the maintenance of avionics on F-15 Eagle. The contract has an estimated value of $457 million over nine years. Visit www.honeywell.com.

Lighted Cockpit

Boeing has contracted IDD Aerospace to provide illuminated cockpit panels for new B777 aircraft. The award comes as part of a five-year contract extension that gives IDD preferred supplier status with Boeing. Visit www.iddaerospace.com.

HMD Deliveries

BAE Systems has begun flight testing its Striker helmet-mounted display (HMD) system for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The company claims that this marks the first trial sortie of a binocular, visor-projected, night vision-capable helmet on a fighter aircraft. Processor and graphics modules drive the system, which can present virtual heads-up display symbology and video imagery from aircraft sensors and a helmet-mounted night vision system. The helmet also includes an integrated respirator that protects in the event of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks. BAE plans to run trials on the system throughout 2005 with production-ready versions flying by the end of the year.

Applying the technology in the Typhoon HMD, BAE also has delivered a helmet-mounted display system to Saab AB for the South African Air Force's Gripen fighter. This HMD gives the pilot binocular, 360-degree visibility in day or night and displays real-time information, such as sensor data, target cueing and weapon status via intelligent sensors that are triggered by the pilot's head motion. The HMD will be installed in a Gripen simulator in Sweden for software and integration tests. Full-scale production is expected to begin in mid-2006. Variants of this helmet system are being flight tested for the UK's Condor II helicopter program and are in development as an alternate helmet design for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Service Center

Teledyne Controls' service center in Cumbernauld, Scotland, has received production organization approval (Part 21, Subpart G) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The new certification, coupled with Teledyne's other capabilities, brings the company closer to obtaining European supplemental type certificates (STCs), which would allow for much faster installation of its products on customer aircraft. Visit www.teledyne-controls.com.

A380 Equipment

Air France has selected Thales Avionics' digital head-up display system for its fleet of Airbus A380s (10 firm orders). The system will be used in a dual-configuration on the aircraft.

Meanwhile, Sagem SA has contracted Barco to provide onboard maintenance terminals and terminal processing units for the A380 cockpit. This deal, estimated to be worth $38.4 million (30 million) over the A380 program's lifetime, follows a contract that has Barco developing the jumbo aircraft's onboard information terminals. Visit www.thalesgroup.com and www.barco.com.

Cell Services

ARINC and Telenor have announced the brand name for their new in-cabin mobile cellular service--AeroMobile. It will be demonstrated on flights in mid-2005. Visit www.arinc.com and www.telenor.com.

New at Sensis

Sensis Corp., DeWitt, N.Y., has received a contract to expand London-Heathrow airport's multistatic dependent surveillance (MDS) system, and it has delivered to Alaska equipment for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) operations under FAA's Capstone program.

The company delivered 78 universal access transceiver (UAT), ground-based systems for the Capstone 2 program in southeastern Alaska. Under an add-on contract Sensis also delivered remote control and monitoring software to accompany the UAT ground systems. The software was installed in the air route traffic control center (ARTCC) in Anchorage. Comparable software was scheduled for delivery in May for a portable laptop computer to be used by field technicians.

For London-Heathrow Sensis was contracted to provide two additional ground stations, which will expand surface surveillance. The new units, which are in addition to the 17 ground stations already in operation at the airport, are part of an expansion program that includes a new control tower. Sensis also will provide the tower a test system that validates the performance of the MDS system.

Operating with MDS since 2002, London-Heathrow is the first airport to use Sensis' multilateration system. Visit www.sensis.com.

Collins Avionics/IFE

A start-up airline, Jazeera Airways, has selected Rockwell Collins avionics and in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems for installation in its four new Airbus A320s. The agreement includes an option for four additional aircraft. The avionics package includes the GLU-920 multimode receiver and WXR-2100 multiscan hazard weather detection system, along with Collins radios, such as DME, ADF, radio altimeter, VOR, VHF, HF and a coupling unit. In the A320 cabin, Collins will provide its PAVES audio/video entertainment system and Airshow 4200 system, which presents maps, real-time news and points-of-interest media libraries to passengers. Jazeera Airways, which plans to begin its service in October, will fly between Kuwait and Dubai, Beirut, Bahrain, Damascus, Amman, Luxor and Alexandria.

In other news, Collins will provide on-board maintenance for Air New Zealand's IFE systems. The five-year service agreement calls for Collins to support its eTES IFE system on board the carrier's fleet of Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Ducted-Fan UAV

BAE Systems has completed the first untethered flight of its autonomous vertically launched unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The aircraft, similar to one being developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Organic Air Vehicle Class II (OAV II) program, navigated twice on a course of 10 waypoints at Hansen Field, Calif. The flight was the result of several months' work and more than 100 test flights conducted with a safety tether.

For the untethered flight, the UAV was linked to a PC-based laptop ground station with a separate pilot controller and multiple data links. The integrated flight and navigation computer directed the UAV around a rectangular course. At each waypoint, the UAV stopped and "stared" for a preset time and then moved on to the next waypoint.

The test flight was conducted on a secure range and the data links were in place to manually command the UAV if needed. An operator was used to initiate and recover the aircraft, but from liftoff to touchdown, the craft flew autonomously.

The ducted-fan UAV is designed for company- and platoon-level operations. The propeller fan is covered, making takeoffs and landings in proximity to users safer. Visit www.baesystems.com.

EFIS-Equipped Cub

A 64-year-old airframe design with a glass cockpit? Yep. The American Legend Aircraft Co. in Sulphur Springs, Texas, recently flew its Legend Cub, an aircraft patterned after the J-3 Piper Cub, and expects its certification as a light sport aircraft by mid-June. The company has built three aircraft; the second one includes a 3.8-inch diagonal Dynon EFIS-D10A electronic flight instrument system (EFIS). American Legend will offer the EFIS as optional equipment, as well as a second liquid crystal display (LCD), Dynon's EMS-D10, for engine monitoring. Other options include a parachute, floats, a transponder and the Garmin 250XL nav/com with GPS. The company also will offer an alternative EFIS by Blue Mountain Avionics, which includes a moving map and built-in GPS.

The Legend Cub comes standard with non-glass instrumentation, as well as an electric starter; owners won't have to pull down the propeller to crank up the 100-hp Continental O-200 engine. American Legend president Tim Eliot says customers can buy the Legend Cub in any color, "as long as it's yellow, with a black stripe"--maintaining the traditional paint scheme of the J-3 Cub.

More than 40,000 of the original Cubs have been built since Taylor Aircraft started the aircraft's production in 1931. Taking over production in 1938, William Piper launched Piper Aircraft Co. and began building the classic J-3, which the Legend Cub is meant to emulate. Cub Crafters Inc., Yakima, Wash., builds the comparable PA-18-180 Top Cub, which also comes with optional Garmin avionics. Visit www.legendaircraftcompany.com.

Wireless Cabin

AirCell, Louisville, Colo., says it will conduct flight demonstrations this July of a prototype system that will allow airline passengers to use their mobile phones and other personal wireless devices while in flight. The AirCell broadband system will use a dedicated, terrestrial air-to-ground link to keep the cabin connected. AirCell plans to deploy its airborne cell phone service in 2006. The demonstrations will be in a custom-equipped private jet. Visit www.aircell.com.

Codem Acquisition

DRS Technologies has acquired Codem Systems Inc., a provider of signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems, network interface modules, and high-performance antenna control systems. Codem was acquired for $29 million in cash plus other compensation. Visit www.drs.com.

Fly-By-Wire System

Averna Technologies, Montreal, has signed a contract with Thales Canada to develop a fly-by-wire data acquisition and simulation system (FBWDASS). Thales Canada will use the FBWDASS to test electronic flight control systems before they are installed. Averna will integrate hardware and software for the new test bed, which is to be delivered this spring. Visit www.averna.com.

Data Recorders

Eurocopter has awarded a contract to TEAC Aerospace Technologies, Montebello, Calif., for its MDR-80 mission data recorders for the French Air Force's AS-555AW Fennec helicopter upgrade program. On the helicopter, the MDR-80s will record audio and video on removable memory modules, which will be used for post mission debrief and analysis. Visit www.teac-aerospace.com.

A-10 Upgrades

The U.S. Air Force has contracted Lockheed Martin to provide precision engagement production kits to modify the A-10 Thunderbolt II (aka Warthog) aircraft. The modification kit--which includes a central interface control unit, multifunction color displays, and new cockpit controls--will enable the A-10 to use advanced precision-guided weapons, such as the joint direct attack munitions and the wind-corrected munitions dispenser. The aircraft also will be able to accommodate advanced targeting pods, which will allow for increased situational awareness. The initial contract, valued at $37.8 million, is part of a larger plan to outfit the entire A-10 fleet with precision engagement kits over the next five years. The total contract value over the five-year span is estimated at $168 million. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.

Citation STC

Jet Aviation Engineering Services is offering the Bendix/King integrated hazard avoidance system (IHAS) 8000 as an installation option on Cessna Citation 500 series aircraft. The IHAS 8000 comes with a KMD 850 multifunction display, a traffic alert system, and a terrain awareness warning system (TAWS). It provides position, traffic, weather and terrain information on a single display. Visit www.jetaviation.com.

Spanish Navy

EADS-CASA has selected L-3 Communications WESCAM to supply its MX-15 electro-optical and infrared imaging sensors to the Spanish Navy. The MX-15 will be used to increase pilot situational awareness on the SH-3D Sea King helicopters, which the Navy uses for search and rescue and airborne surveillance missions. A total of five MX-15 sensors will be delivered. Visit www.wescam.com.

Croatian ATM

Thales ATM has completed site acceptance testing of the Croatian air traffic management system (CroATMS), based on the Eurocat system. It was installed in an air traffic control center in Zagreb and will control en route, approach and tower air traffic for the air navigation service provider, Croatia Controls Ltd. Visit www.thalesatm.com.

New Hueys

Starting in 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will provide newly built UH-1Y Huey light utility helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps rather than have them remanufactured from the UH-1N helicopters currently in service. Michael Wynne, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, signed the acquisition decision memorandum that calls for the new helicopter production in response to an upsurge in the UH-1N fleet's operational use. The new aircraft will employ the UH-1N cockpit upgrade, which includes color multifunction displays, mission computers and advanced communication and navigation equipment. UH-1N pilots also will use night vision-capable helmet-mounted displays, moving map technology, and updated communications between other air and ground units.

DoD program officials estimate that a new helicopter will cost $100,000 more than a re-equipped one. Under the Marine Corps' H-1 Upgrades program, AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters are also being remanufactured into the AH-1Z configuration. DoD officials are currently studying the feasibility of producing AH-1Zs new as well. Visit navair.navy.mil.

Night Vision

The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Forces have received a shipment of 20 Block 1 panoramic night vision goggles (PNVG) from Insight Inc., Londonderry, N.H. The new PNVG gives pilots a 95-degree field of view, as opposed to the standard 40 degrees, by using four small image intensifiers instead of two traditional sized ones. The goggles also have an autogating feature that protects the pilots from the visual degradation that occurs when bright lights are encountered. Insight will deliver a total of 400 PNVGs. Visit www.wpafb.af.mil.

ASTAMIDS Expansion

The U.S. Army has requested that Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) program be expanded beyond mine detection to include reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), and target designation. The RQ-88 Fire Scout Class IV unmanned air vehicle (UAV) used for the program has a multisensor, electro-optical infrared/multispectral imaging payload that allows it to detect patterned and randomly placed mines, as well as various obstacles, vehicles and other combat targets. Under the expansion, the payload will undergo a minor lens modification, which will enable it to carry out missions at higher altitudes. The expanded capabilities would add $26 million to the $55 million previously awarded to Northrop. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.

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