Thales Joins with L-3 Communications

Thales Avionics and L-3 Communications signed an agreement in mid-April to form a joint venture company, to be located in Phoenix, Ariz. This move is consistent with L-3’s announcement in April 2000 when the company purchased Honeywell’s traffic alert and collision avoidance (TCAS) business–the result of the Honeywell-AlliedSignal merger.

The new company will manage the assets of L-3’s Aviation Communication & Surveillance System (ACSS) division and will market communications and surveillance avionics products and services and support. The new company’s name, appropriately, is ACSS.

In addition to TCAS, the company’s product line will include Mode S transponders. From the alliance, the two companies plan to "provide a complete suite of avionics that meet current and future air traffic management [ATM] requirements," according to an L-3 company release.

L-3 and Thales officials anticipate "substantial growth" in the air transport market, according to L-3 Chairman and CEO Frank Lanza, "as more airlines move to meet upcoming mandates" by regulatory agencies.

Thales Avionics, which acquired a 30% share of the company for $72 million, will provide ACSS "marketing and sales experience in the worldwide aviation marketplace," the release says. ACSS, in turn, will give Thales a larger presence in the North American marketplace, as well as a more complete avionics product line. L-3, which holds the remaining 70% share in ACSS, will manage and consolidate the new company. Visit www.l-3com.com and www.thalesgroup.com.

HF Data Link for Finnair

Finland’s Finnair now uses ARINC Inc.’s GLOBALink/HF data link (HFDL) and has gained the supplemental type certificate for the installation of the Rockwell Collins HFDL avionics on a Boeing 757-200. The first Finnair aircraft equipped with HFDL made its maiden flight earlier this year, from the capital city of Helsinki to Dubai.

Finnair selected the HFDL for a number of reasons. For one, its Boeing 757-200s operate in remote areas and in extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) environments, which lack VHF coverage. And they fly at very high latitudes, precluding the uninterrupted use of satellite communications. Finnair also selected HF data link, according to Alpi Santakallio, the carrier’s avionics engineer, because "HF for voice operations is a complicated media for pilots to use." Visit www.arinc.com and www.collins.rockwell.com.

Boeing Gets Wired

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group recently granted a long-term contract to Tyco Electronics of Menlo Park, Calif., to supply general-purpose airframe wire (BMS1348). The wiring will be provided under a new "vendor-managed inventory" service, designed to reduce Boeing’s costs in managing assets. Visit www.tycoelectronics.com.

Teledyne Conference Grows

More than 200 members of the aviation community attended the 11th annual Teledyne Users Conference, making it the most well-attended to date. The event was held in Los Angeles, Calif., in mid-March. The 2001 conference represented a significant jump in attendance compared to 2000, when 108 frequented the event.

Data link technology was the conference’s predominant theme, with presentations covering the Federal Aviation Administration’s Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) program and Eurocontrol’s PETAL II data link trials. Data link for regional airlines also was covered, as were updates on VHF data link (VDL) Mode 2 from ARINC and SITA.

Corresponding with the data link theme among speaker presentations, was Teledyne Controls’ unveiling of its new 758 communications management unit (CMU), which supports CPDLC. The new CMU meets ARINC 758 standards, which require meeting messaging formats that maintain steps toward the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN).

A breakdown of the Teledyne Control conference attendees shows that 85 of the 194 were airline officials, 21 more than at the 2000 conference. Fifty-two came to this year’s event from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) community, and 20 from the regulatory community. They came from around the world: 31 from the Asia/Pacific, 35 from Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, 31 from Latin America, 10 from Middle East and Africa, and the remainder from North America. Visit www.teledyne-controls.com.

Serco Joins with Agilent

Agilent Technologies Inc. recently certified Serco Test Systems to be a supplier of Agilent test products. Serco was approved for its Premier Solution Partner program, according to Agilent, because of its experience in providing "managed test solutions for very large, sophisticated commercial and military avionics and defense systems, such as the UK Royal Navy’s Merlin helicopter." Agilent’s product line for the aerospace industry includes network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, vector signal analyzers, T/R module test systems, and data acquisition and control (DAC) products. Visit www.agilent.com.

CRJ 900 Instruments

Bombardier Aerospace recently signed an agreement with Thales Avionics Canada to provide the secondary flight control systems and the stall protection system for its new CRJ-900 regional jet. Thales, which also is providing the integrated electronic standby instrument (IESI) for the 90-passenger jet, is systems integrator and risk-sharing partner with Bombardier on the CRJ-900. The new regional jet first flew Feb. 21, with all Thales systems on board. Visit the Websites at www.bombardier.com and and www.thalesgroup.com for more information.

SIA Buys Learjet 45s

Singapore Airlines (SIA) recently ordered two additional Learjet 45s for specialized pilot training. The Southeast Asian airline now has six Learjet 45s, which will help train the more than 150 pilots the airline requires by early 2002. SIA was instrumental in the Learjet 45’s flightdeck design, which is similar to airliner flightdecks. Visit www.bomardier.com.

ELTs for A330/340s

European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. (EADS) recently certified on the Airbus 330/340 aircraft the KANNAD 406 AS emergency locator transmitter (ELT), made by Thales Avionics. The certification will be extended on other Airbus models upon airlines’ request. Thales Avionics offers a range of ELTs in partnership with SERPE-IESM, a French company that produces, among other systems, Copsas-Sarsat (international satellite system for search and rescue) beacons. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.

ERJ-145 Simulator Now Level D

The newest Embraer ERJ-145 simulator, and the second one installed at FlightSafety International’s Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas) Center, recently received the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s level D certification. FlightSafety built the regional jet training system, which includes the Chroma ViewPlus visual system. The ERJ-145 simulator is the training company’s 10th level-D flight simulator. Visit www.flightsafety.com.

New Training Center

Bombardier Aerospace recently inaugurated its new pilot and maintenance training center at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport. Bombardier partnered with SimuFlite to establish the center, which initially will provide classroom and simulator training on the Learjet 31A, 45 and 60. By 2002, the Bombardier/ SimuFlite team plans to offer training on the Challenger 604 and Global Express. The director of the DFW training center is William A. Freeman. See www.bombardier.com and www.simuflite.com.

MAS Offers Nintendo

Matsushita Avionics Systems Corp. (MAS) recently signed a licensing agreement with Nintendo of America Inc., which authorizes MAS to market Nintendo Gateway Game Boy. The Game Boy video entertainment will be offered with MAS’s new 3000 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. Game Boy is reportedly the most successful video game, with more than 110 million units sold.

The System 3000, which entered revenue service in March, has been ordered by 17 airlines and airframe manufacturers. It can store up to 300 hours of entertainment content, including video, audio, announcements and games. Visit www.mascorp.com and www.nintendo.com.

SAI Offers E-mail and the Web

Passengers in all three classes of service offered on Singapore Airlines (SAI) now have access to the Web and e-mail. The airline launched the service, provided by Tenzing Communications Inc., on April 22.

On the Singapore Air service’s maiden flight, the first e-mail exchange was made between aircraft. Derek Applegate, on-board a Singapore Air flight between Taipei and Los Angeles, sent an e-mail to Rebecka Shea, on-board an Air Canada flight from Calgary to Toronto. Both Applegate and Shea are Tenzing officials.

The Singapore Air launch represents the beginning of Tenzing’s first full-fleet contract with an airline. Singapore Air passengers will be able to plug their laptop computers into ports at their seats. They will connect to an on-board server, using the airline’s in-flight entertainment system. E-mails are sent and received via satellite connections.

In addition, Singapore Air passengers will have access to free "Best of the Web" content, using the Tenzing service. This will include news, stock reports and sports scores, which are updated continually during the flight.

The Tenzing service on-board the Air Canada flight is the result of an agreement made last year to conduct a joint technical trial of the service on five of the airline’s aircraft. Air Canada and Singapore Airlines are two among six airlines that agreed to deploy and/or test the Tenzing service. For more information, visit www.tenzing.com.

Qatar Shows DVD

Qatar Airways has become the launch customer for IEC International’s integrated in-seat DVD (digital versatile disc) video entertainment system. Initially, the system will be fitted in the premium-class cabin sections of the airline’s six new Airbus 320s, which will enter service in October. Qatar also has taken options to equip a further five A320s with IEC’s DVD systems. The IEC system has an 8.4-inch (21.3-cm) liquid crystal display monitor. For more information, visit www.iecinternational.com.

P-3C Gets an Upgrade

The U.S. Navy recently awarded DRS Technologies a $29-million contract, including options, to produce AN/AQH-13 acoustic data recorders for the upgrade of the Navy’s P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. DRS also will provide digital interface kits for the upgrade. The recorder, a commercial off-the-shelf product, will record 32 channels of acoustic information from sonobuoys. It was designed to be a plug-compatible replacement for the two 16-channel recorders currently in the P-3C. Naval Air Systems Command placed the initial order for DRS equipment, worth $8.2 million. DRS Precision Echo, Santa Clara, Calif., will fulfill the contract. Visit www.drs.com.

Moving Map on the EH-101

Italy’s Agusta has contracted Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla., to supply digital moving maps for the Italian Navy’s fleet of EH-101 antisubmarine warfare helicopters. The total system includes Harris’ modular digital map computer, Smiths Aerospace’s advanced memory unit, and a high-speed interface. The moving map will provide real-time terrain visualization data on the helicopter’s cockpit displays. Visit www.harris.com.

DDC, AMPOL Form Alliance

Bohemia, N.Y.-based Data Device Corp. (DDC) announced a strategic alliance with AMPOL Technologies, Kfar Saba, Israel. The intent of the alliance is to transform DDC’s line of Mil-Std-1553 and ARINC-429 databus interface cards into turnkey solutions for communications and avionics systems. Initially, DDC cards will be integrated with AMPOL’s dataMARS and dataSIMS software. Visit www.ddc-web.com.

Litton Now Part of Northrop

Litton Industries has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp., following Northrop’s purchase of Litton for $5.1 billion, including the assumption of $1.3 billion in debt. The acquisition creates a $15-billion global defense company.

"We’re going to review all the business units...and evaluate all of the corporate pieces," Northrop’s Chairman, President and CEO Kent Kresa told Avionics Magazine. He said the two companies’ electronics products would be combined for a cost-effective transition. The company has a positive forecast, increasing to $18 billion in revenues in 2003, the result of an anticipated increase in defense spending. See www.northgrum.com.

Korry Acquires Planar Monitors

Korry Electronics Co., Seattle, Wash., has agreed to purchase the product line of 15- and 18-inch active matrix, liquid crystal display monitors from Beaverton, Ore.-based Planar Systems. The monitors largely are used for air traffic control applications. Planar officials say they now will focus on custom design displays. Visit www.korry.com.

SITA Buys Grumman Unit

SITA recently acquired the Advanced Information Technology (AIT) sector of Northrop Grumman Canada Ltd., part of Northrop’s Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector. From the purchase, SITA can provide for its 200 airline and airport customers a common-use, self-service kiosk terminal for passenger check-in at airports. For more information, visit the Websites www.sita.int and www.ngcan.com.

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