Belgian Police Receive Enhanced MD 520N
The Belgian Gendarmerie (Belgian National Police) was scheduled to take delivery by the end of 1999 of its multimission MD 520N (Model 500N)—fitted with customized avionics by Heli-Dyne Systems Inc. Hurst, Tex.-based Heli-Dyne was chosen for the job by the Belgian contractor Helifly.
After several months of integration work, the aircraft has emerged with equipment configured for surveillance, tactical, search, and utility missions. Heli-Dyne outfitted the MD 520N with an Avalex liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor, SkyForce moving map system with Global Positioning System, airborne microwave system, lightweight armor, stabilized sensor turret, and other mission equipment.
The surveillance system uses sophisticated tracking and homing electronics and the WESCAM Model-12DS tri-sensor turret with day television, low-light television and thermal imager. The system enables the pilot to follow and observe targets, day or night, from significant distances, and to downlink imagery to ground stations via a WESCAM/SAGEM datalink. The airborne microwave system uses an articulated antenna that folds under the aircraft for landing.
The 12-inch (30.5-cm) diameter gyrostabilized sensor ball rides a quick-on/quick-off mount under the aircraft’s nose. Heli-Dyne Systems packaged the processing/datalink electronics under the aft seat and added operator controls and separate monitors.
For further information, contact Roger Drummond, marketing manager, Heli-Dyne Systems Inc., 9000 Trinity Blvd, Hurst, TX 76053; phone 817-282-9804; fax 817-280-8329.
Airbus Adds HF Data Link For Polar Region Flights
Airbus Industrie says it will offer customers improved global communications through the use of HF data link over polar regions. Currently, lack of VHF stations and unavailability of satcom at high latitudes hamper polar communications.
HF will permit communications via a secure data link. The installation requires minor wiring changes plus the addition of a HF data radio and software upgrades in the aircraft’s air traffic services unit (ATSU).
Aerospatiale manufactures the ATSU; Rockwell Collins or Allied Signal/Rohde & Schwarz will supply the HF radios. The new service is expected to be available by mid-2000 for A330 and A340 aircraft and about a year later for A320 aircraft.
Airbus also is preparing its aircraft to operate with VHF data link Mode 2, which will be available by 2002.
For more information, visit the Website at www.airbus.com
Honeywell’s FMS, ADIRS Chosen for Spanair A320 Fleet
Honeywell says it won a competition to provide flight management systems (FMS) and air data inertial reference systems (ADIRS) for Spanair’s fleet of A320s on order from Airbus, with 30 firm orders and 12 options.
The Honeywell Pegasus FMS introduces hardware and software commonality across multiple aircraft platforms. The ADIRS was designed to offer weight savings and reliability. For more information, visit www.cas.honeywell.com on the Web.
DDC-I Nears Completion Of Ada System Delivery
DDC-I reported being nearly finished with the delivery of six pieces of the Ada development environment (computer programming language) for its Phase III program.
Scheduled for development between FY 1997 and FY 2001, Phase III includes flight testing of the first two prototype Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche helicopters (one shown above), development of the mission equipment package, and production of early operational capability RAH-66’s for testing in FY 2002 and 2003.
DDC-I says the Ada compiler system will allow Boeing and Sikorsky to reduce their costs.
LTR-97 Replacement System Gains STCs, Poised for More
Litton Aero Product’s LTR-97 vertical and directional gyro (VG/DG) replacement system, which uses fiber-optic gyros, received in early December supplemental type certificates (STCs) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for installation on Boeing’s 727, 737, DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft.
The LTR-97, which can utilize existing wiring, power and mounting, is expected in the upcoming months to receive additional STCs for the Airbus A300, Boeing 747, DC-8, DC-10 and the British Aerospace BAe-146.
For more information about the LTR-97, see Avionics Magazine, June 1999, page 48, or visit www.litton.com. Litton Aero Products is located in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Sextant Gains STC for Its Enhanced VHF Transceiver
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Sextant Avionique a supplemental type certificate (STC) for its enhanced VHF transceiver (EVR 716), which is capable of 8.33 and 25 KHz channelling. The STC allowed Olympic Airways to retrofit its Boeing 737-400 aircraft with the new radio in time for compliance with the new 8.33 KHz regulation, which became effective in Europe as of Oct. 7, 1999.
Currently, Sextant is finalizing the certification of the EVR 750 version for Future Air Navigation System (FANS) applications on the Airbus 340 family of aircraft.
For more information, visit www.sextant.thomson-csf.com
EC, ESA Contracts Launch Galileo’s Definition Phase
Five contracts were recently announced to initiate a one-year definition phase for the Galileo satellite navigation program, Europe’s answer to GPS. The European Space Agency (ESA) let one contract, and the European Commission (EC) issued the other four.
According to the industry newsletter, Global Positioning & Navigation News, many Europeans view the larger number of EC contracts as a victory for the European Commission in its ongoing political battle with ESA. The EC, which stresses commercial applications, wants a bigger role in the program, sources say.
Here are the companies’ winning contracts:
Italy’s Alenia Aerospazio, leading a group of more than 50 subcontractors, will define the space segment and ground systems under a "GalileoSat" study for ESA, worth about $20 million.
Visit www.eurocontrol.be for details.
Challenger 604 to be Upgraded With Collins Pro Line 4 Suite
Bombardier Aerospace says it plans to upgrade its Challenger 604 business jet with the installation of Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line 4 avionics suite. Deliveries of the upgraded aircraft will begin in early 2001.
The new avionics suite will be standard in new aircraft and retrofitable in Challenger 604s that are in service.
John Race, Bomardier’s director of flight operations for Challenger and Global Express, says the upgrade, in large part, is to reduce pilot workload.
See www.aero.bombardier.com and www.collins.rockwell.com
Three U.S. Airlines Sign Up For GLOBALink Service
Three U.S. airlines—Continental, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways—recently implemented GLOBALink services offered by ARINC Inc.
Alaska Air, which selected the VHF data link service, began equipping its aircraft in November with Rockwell Collins’ Airborne Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) avionics. Now the carrier can deliver data between its aircraft and its operations base in Seattle, Wash. Alaska Air’s service agreement with ARINC allows a "cost effective" upgrade to VDL Mode-2.
Meanwhile, Continental already has one aircraft equipped for ARINC’s GLOBALink/HF data link service, which is used for long-range communications. The first flight with the service on-board was from the United States to Scotland. Continental, Greensboro, N.C.-based TIMCO, and Rockwell Collins jointly gained the supplemental type certificate (STC) for the installation of HF equipment on the airline’s Boeing 757-200s. Continental planned for a subsequent HF data link radio STC on its B737-800s.
Finally, startup airline, JetBlue Airways, based at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, signed a seven-year agreement for ARINC’s VHF service for ACARS and VDL Mode-2. The new airline plans to serve about a dozen cities with up to 10 Airbus 320s.
For more information, visit the Website www.arinc.com
AAIB Urges Installation of Recorders on More Aircraft
A recent accident report from the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch calls for the wider use of flight recorders. The report says flight recorders have proven to be invaluable in accident and incident investigation.
Current UK CAA regulations require flight recorders on aircraft operating in the aerial work or private category for which the certificate of airworthiness was first issued on, or after June 1, 1990, and whose maximum total weight exceeds 59,500 pounds (27,000 kg). Aircraft weighing less than that amount need not be fitted with recorders unless they are in the transport category.
The report recommends that the Civil Aviation Authority amend the Air Navigation Order to require recorders on aircraft with a maximum weight that exceeds 12,570 pounds (5,700 kg) and operates in the aerial work or private category, as well as in the transport category.
Gulfstream IV Interior Installed in a G-III
Jet Aviation’s West Palm Beach (Fla.) facility has completed the first installation of the wide-body interior of a Gulfstream IV into a Gulfstream III. The conversion was designed to reduce noise, improve insulation, and create greater interior space and headroom.
The flight deck includes the first Gulfstream installation of the Rockwell-Collins flat-screen FDS-2000 flight display system. Collins and Jet Aviation joined to gain the first supplemental type certificate (STC) for the system in a Gulfstream.
The conversion required manufacture of a new instrument panel to accommodate the five-inch displays, annunciators and existing avionics. New cooling fans and glare shield cover vents were fitted to enhance cooling. The console was also rearranged to include the FDS-2000 control unit.
For additional information, visit Websites www.gulfstream.com, www.jetaviation.com, and www.collins.rockwell.com
FlightSafety Boeing Beefs Up Its Training Simulation Services
FlightSafety Boeing Training International LLC says it plans to provide Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) customers with flight training at the Atlanta, Ga., FlightSafety International facility and will have a B737 simulator ready for training by July 1. Participating in the new center’s development are FlightSafety International and Boeing Business Jets.
A 100,000-square foot (9,300-m2), two-story training facility is being built to replace the existing center alongside the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport in Georgia. It has been designed to accommodate 15 full-flight simulators. The Level "D" Boeing Next-Generation 737 simulator is being built by FlightSafety International Simulator Systems Division and will be completed by April.
FlightSafety Boeing also recently broke ground for a 32,800-square foot (3,050-m2) flight training center near London Luton Airport in the UK. The center will provide Boeing 737-300, 737-700/-800 and 757-200 full-flight simulators, classrooms, instructors and related services.
Finally, FlightSafety Boeing announced plans for two new B717 flight simulators. The first simulator is to be operational in May 2001, the second, in the fourth quarter of the same year.
For more information, visit the Website www.flightsafety.com
Microwave Test Solutions Now Has a New Name
Microwave Test Solutions Inc., Clarksburg, N.J., has a new name: In-Phase Technologies Inc. Company president Edward J. MacMullen recently announced the name change, claiming it "more accurately represents our organization’s expanded capabilities."
Established in 1994 by MacMullen and two associates, the company manufactures automated test equipment and other products.
Jet Aviation Outfits Europe’s First Boeing Business Jet
Jet Aviation, of Switzerland, announced the delivery of the first Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) to be outfitted in Europe.
The aircraft was fitted for long-range operations; nine auxiliary fuel tanks were installed to provide a maximum, non-stop range of 7,100 miles (11,480 km). The flight deck was equipped with the latest technology avionics, including large, flat-panel displays and a head-up guidance system.
For more information, see www.jetaviation.com
Honeywell Signs Contract With Coherent Technologies
Honeywell and Coherent Technologies Inc. (CTI), Boulder, Colo., have entered into a long-term agreement to develop and market a system that would warn aircraft of atmospheric turbulence. United Airlines is also a participant in the project, providing data on its experience with turbulence.
Honeywell officials say it would be a hybrid system that combines Honeywell’s microwave radar with CTI’s infrared radar. The system will be designed to detect everything from clear air turbulence to that created by thunderstorms.
The turbulence detection system will be offered both to airlines and, as an commercial-off-the-shelf item, to the military. Initial deliveries of the system are expected in late 2002.
On the Web, see www.honeywell.com and www.ctilidar.com for additional information.
Air Navigation Data Awarded Software Contract
Air Navigation Data of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, announced recently that it had won the bid to supply the Canadian Department of National Defence with its Final Approach software.
Air Navigation Data’s software automates the process of designing instrument approaches.
For additional information, call 613-747-8530.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Smiths Industries Plc has agreed to acquire the aerospace division of U.S.-based Invensys Plc. for the sum of $175 million (ï¿½109 million). Invensys specializes in products for electrical power management and aircraft utilities. Completion of the sale is expected by the end of January, subject to U.S. regulatory approval. Contact Russell Plumley or Richard Bayliss in the United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20-8457-8203, or Jennifer Villarreal in the United States, 616-241-8643.
SatCon Technology Corp. announced its acquisition of the power electronics products business unit from Northrop Grumman Corp. The unit produces electronics, controllers and motors. Contact SatCon Technology by phone at 617-661-0650, or by fax, 617-661-3373.
It’s now official. Northrop Grumman Corp. has purchased Norway-based Navia Aviation SA for $35 million. Navia reportedly is in a "consolidation phase." Northrop Grumman says it plans to strengthen Navia’s position within the navigation, landing system, and communications markets for both civil and military applications. See www.northgrum.com.
Data Transmission Network Corp. (DTN), Omaha, Neb., recently announced it finalized an agreement to purchase the assets of FlightBrief Online Service Inc. for about $375,000 cash. The purchase includes two web sites: www.weatherconcepts.com and www.flightbrief.com. The former service provides real-time weather graphics and the latter furnishes subscribers/pilots with weather briefings, airport databases and other information.
United Retrofits 16 B777 With Sextant Video Systems
Sextant In-Flight Systems, Irvine, Calif., recently received from United Airlines an order for its d2000 in-seat distributed video systems for retrofit in 16 Boeing 777-200s. These will replace the current GEC Marconi video systems.
As the airline’s exclusive in-seat video systems provider, Sextant IFS currently has 112 systems installed or on order for United aircraft. United had the first d2000 installed in 1997, in its B767. It eventually will have the system installed in 46 B777-200s, 43 B747-400s and 23 B767-300s.
For more information visit www.sextant.thomson-csf.com
Boeing Begins Upgrade Of 18 NATO AWACS Aircraft
Boeing in December began the upgrade program for the first of 18 NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
The overhaul is part of NATO’s mid-term modernization program, which is valued at approximately $450 million for engineering, manufacturing and development. Upgrades to the remaining 17 NATO aircraft will be part of a follow-up contract. The work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in Wichita, Kan., and is scheduled for completion by spring.
The E-3 AWACS is used for airborne surveillance and command-and-control communications for NATO air and maritime forces. It provides a 360ï¿½ view of the horizon and is capable of tracking multiple sea and land targets simultaneously.
Visit www.boeing.com on the Web.
Lockheed Sends First F-16 to Singapore
Lockheed Martin in December delivered the first of 12 new Block 52 F-16C/D fighters to the Singapore air force.
Singapore ordered the aircraft in 1997 as part of the Peace Carvin III program—a $350-million initiative that includes the aircraft, support equipment, spare parts, training, and mission equipment.
The new F-16s will use flat-panel liquid-crystal color displays designed to enhance visibility in the cockpits, particularly during daytime operations. The displays were initially developed for the Mid-Life Update program for Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Taiwan. The U.S. Air Force also has chosen the color displays for integration in its F-16 fleet.
Singapore’s remaining 11 F-16s will be delivered within the next six months.
For more information about the F-16 or other military programs, visit www.TheFighterEnterprise.com on the Web.
Northrop to Upgrade Egyptian Hawkeye Fleet
Northrop Grumman Corp. says its Integrated Systems and Aerostructures (ISA) division was chosen to upgrade the E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft operated by Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya, the Egyptian Air Force, under a U.S. Navy foreign military sales contract worth approximately $138 million.
The work will be done in Egypt by ISA’s Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare Systems unit. The contract covers non-recurring design and development work and the procurement of aircraft retrofit kits and initial spares. It also includes an option for kit installation.
In separate news, Northrop Grumman says its ISA division on Dec. 1 delivered the sixth production Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS) aircraft, the E8C P-7, to the U.S. Air Force’s 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The E8C P-6 was numerically the next in line for delivery, but will not be ready until early 2001.
The J-STARS aircraft is equipped with an advanced airborne surveillance and target acquisition system for real-time, highly accurate information.
For more information about the above contracts, contact Northrop Grumman by phone at 310-553-6262, fax 310-556-4561, or visit the Website at www.northgrum.com/isa_www
South Africa Orders Fighters From BAe Systems, Saab
Under a recently-signed contract with the South African government, BAE Systems and Saab will deliver 24 Hawk 100 lead-in fighter trainers and 28 Gripen advanced light fighters worth a combined R15.7 billion.
With this agreement, South Africa has become the launch customer for the fourth generation Gripen. Sweden also has ordered 204 Gripens for its air force.
More information is available through Jan Ahlgren, vice president of communications at Saab AB-Gripen, at +46-13-18-39-07, or Linden Birns, BAE Systems, South Africa, +27-21-789-2977.
U.S. Defense Department Grants Contracts for Upgrades
The following are recent U.S. Defense Department contracts for avionics products:
The U.S. Air Force Air Logistic Center, at Robins AFB, Ga., awarded to Raytheon Aircraft Integrated Systems, Waco, Texas, a $30.2-million, firm-fixed-price contract for modification kits that include a digital automatic flight control system, a control display system, and a ground collision avoidance system. The kits are to be installed in C-130 and C-141 aircraft, to upgrade their all-weather landing systems and autopilots. See www.raytheon.com.
Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., awarded the L-3 Display Systems division of L-3 Communications an $11.2-million contract for 30 programmable tactical information display units to be installed in F-14B/D aircraft. The modification work, to be completed in September 2001, will be carried out at L-3’s Alpharetta, Ga., facility. See www.L-3com.com.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Rockwell Collins a $113.4-million contract to continue the KC-135 tanker aircraft retrofit program. This marks the fifth production option awarded to Collins under the KC-135 Pacer CRAG (compass, radar and Global Positioning System) contract. The total shipset quanitity is now up to 505.
Wounds Heal, Argentina and UK Perform Joint Exercise
The United Kingdom and Argentina recently carried out the first bilateral exercise in more than 17 years. It was a search-and-rescue exercise. The conflict in 1982 in the Falkland Islands explains in large part the long duration between co-operative exercises.
Air Traffic Control
New NASA Simulator to Help Resolve Airport Capacity Problem
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially opened in December FutureFlight Central, a full-scale tower simulator developed to help resolve airport capacity problems. Jointly funded for $10 million by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration, the facility is located at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
A 12-screen, high-resolution video system provides a 360ï¿½ view of airports modeled for simulation. A model of nearby San Francisco International Airport has been installed in FutureFlight Central. See www.nasa.gov.
Former RAF Station Becomes An International Airport in UK
A former Royal Air Force station in Kent, UK, is now a fully licensed international airport under the name of London Manston Airport. The conversion to civil use was carried out by Thomson-CSF through its subsidiaries Thomson-CSF Services Industrie and Thomson-CSF Support Services Ltd on behalf of the Wiggins Group Plc.
The conversion involved the installation of DME, ILS and NDB aids, an upgrade of the ground lighting and a new control tower.
ICAO Predicts Dramatic Growth in the Asia/Pacific
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) predicts a rise in passenger numbers on trans-Pacific routes from 26 million in 1998 to 72 million in 2014. Passenger numbers on intra-Asia/Pacific routes are expected to increase from 67 million to 145 million over the same period.
These figures translate into a doubling of aircraft movements across the Pacific, from approximately 132,000 in 1998 to some 264,000 in 2014. For more information, visit www.icao.org.
African Countries Consider WAAS-like Nav System
To improve Africa’s aviation infrastructure, experts and government representatives from 21 African nations under the umbrella organization known as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) recently expressed interest in developing a GPS-based, navigation and landing system that could be modeled on the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). According to the industry newsletter, Global Positioning & Navigation News, COMESA countries also are working with a consortium that has proposed a high-altitude air space management concept using unaugmented GPS signals.
The unaugmented system would provide en-route coverage of African airspace (24,500 feet and above), with pilots relaying their GPS positions to centers on the ground. Overflight fees would finance it. The augmented system, which would be more expensive and probably succeed the unaugmented system’s implementation, would give the participating African countries standard, Category I approach capability.
No contract is currently in place, and it is not clear how COMESA will proceed. There is, however, a "high sense of urgency" in Africa to do something while the world economy is strong and the political mood good, according to officials with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Airservices Australia Wins IATA’s Eagle Award
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented its Eagle Award trophy to Airservices Australia. The award is given to airports and air navigation services that provide exceptional service with value for money.
The Eagle Award program is part of an IATA campaign to raise awareness of the effect of infrastructure charges on the aviation industry. For more information, see www.iata.org.
Communication Trials Performed in Australia
Trials of a new aviation communication service have been carried out at Jandakot Airport in Western Australia. A ground-based radio operator provided pilots with operational information during periods when the local air traffic control tower was closed.
This was the second such trial in recent months; a similar operation was carried out at Ayers Rock Airport during September 1999.
Frankfurt Airport to Employ Sensis Corp.’s MDS System
Airsys ATM has contract Sensis Corp., DeWitt, N.Y., to deliver its mutilateration-based, Multistatic Dependent Surveillance (MDS) system to Flughafen Frankfurt/ Main AG (the Frankfurt Airport company). There it will be part of the surface movement guidance system program, named TACSYS/DAPTS.
MDS is an airport surface and terminal maneuvering area (TMA) surveillance system that provides controllers the precise location and positive identification of aircraft on the ground, using Mode S and Mode 3/A transponder codes. The system will cover the entire Frankfurt Airport surface: runways, taxiways, ramp, gate areas. Installation and testing is to be completed by March 2002.
On the Web, visit www.sensis.com and www.airsysatm.thomson-csf.com.
Litton Denro Gains ETVS Approval, Announces Contracts
Litton Denro, Gaithersburg, Md., has passed government testing and gained approval for deployment of its Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch (ETVS) product line by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The deployment is the result of a July 1995 contract awarded to Litton Denro, which calls for more than 400 systems worldwide over the next five years. The ETVS contract’s potential value is estimated at $100 million, the largest for a voice communications system.
The ETVS system is to be used for both civil and military air traffic control (ATC) applications. It will eventually provide all tower and approach control communications for the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the FAA.
In other news, Litton Denro has gained the following:
subcontract from Israel’s LR Avionics to provide an an ATC automated message handling system for Luanda international Airport in Angola. The system is part of an upgrade. "A Contract from Fujairah international Airport in the United Arab Emirates to provide a gateway AFTN (Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network) node. It will connect to the main AFTN hub in Abu Dhabi, which Litton Denro provided in early 1999.
subcontract from Airport Systems International Inc., Overland Park, Kan., to provide a voice communications system for the Siem Reap Airport in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
For more information see www.littondenro.com on the Web.
Comsoft Launches Second AFTN System in Africa
Comsoft GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany, recently set up its AIDA-EL (Aeronautical Integrated Data Exchange Agent-Economy Line) message handling system for the National Airports Corp. Ltd. in Zambia.
The central AFTN (Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network) switch, in the capital city of Lusaka, is part of a country-wide network for the automated exchange of flight data. The network interconnects autonomous working positions in Zambia’s major airports with each other and with the worldwide AFTN and SITA networks.
Visit the Website at www.comsoft.de
Praise, Criticism Face NATS Privatization
Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS), recently praised the UK government’s intent to involve the private sector in running the air traffic system through a public private partnership (PPP). NATS is currently a wholly-owned unit of the Civil Aviation Authority. It employs 5,372 people, including 1800 controllers and 1280 air traffic engineers.
Not everyone is so enthusiastic about PPP and heated discussion of safety issues in UK public transport followed two serious railway accidents in the country. In particular, Britain’s pilots have repeated their opposition to privatizing air traffic control.
In a press release, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) claimed that if 51% of the service is sold off to a private company, simply coming in to make money, then the Government will be injecting the profit motive into an organisation whose sole purpose is to ensure safety.