Thales on Watchkeeper

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently selected a Thales UK-led team for the next phase of the acquisition cycle for its Watchkeeper unmanned air vehicle (UAV) program. The UAV will provide UK armed forces with an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability and be part of the UK’s drive for network-enabled capability (NEC).

The Watchkeeper, which is to enter service in 2006, is based around team member Elbit Systems’ Hermes series of UAVs. The program will employ both the Hermes 180, with a 397-pound (180-kg) takeoff weight, and the Hermes 450, with a 992-pound (450-kg) takeoff weight.

(The U.S. Joint UAV Test and Evaluation [JUAV-JTE] program office selected the Hermes 450 for the development of future UAV tactics, techniques and procedures. A recent test included 26 flights without missing a sortie.)

Included on the Watchkeeper team is Cubic Defense Applications, which will supply the tactical common data link (TCDL) and high integrity data link (HIDL). The TCDL will allow the Watchkeeper to transfer information from multiple UAVs operating in the same area without interference. The HIDL provides a programmable backup link.

Boeing, also on the program, will work with the UK to ensure interoperability between Watchkeeper and U.S. forces. Watchkeeper will operate in, and integrate with, the network-enabled environments that the United States (with network centric warfare) and UK armed forces (with NEC) are developing.

Other Watchkeeper team members include LogicaCMG, which will handle command and battle space management systems applications; Marshall SV, which will build ground stations and support; Cobham, which will build major sub-assemblies and components; and a joint venture company created by Thales UK and Elbit that will serve as the tactical UAV subsystems supplier.

Prime contractor Thales UK will allow outside suppliers to compete to provide Watchkeeper’s day/night electro-optical system, which will include a thermal imager and laser target designator, and a large synthetic aperture radar. Thales will produce the ultra-light search and rescue/ ground moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI) radar.

Thales’ Alex Cresswell believes revenues from the $1.5-billion (�800-million) Watchkeeper program could grow by up to $750 million (�400 million) from exports. The company already has explored opportunities in Scandinavia, Australia and France. Visit

First RTOS Approval

Green Hills Software claims its Integrity RTOS is the first real-time operating system to be certified to a standard based on the latest edition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.’s IEEE 1003.1 standard, titled "Standard for Information Technology–Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX). Visit

Airshow 21 in the Global 5000

Rockwell Collins’ integrated cabin electronics system, dubbed the Airshow 21 "global office," has been installed in a Bombardier Global 5000. Initial flight tests of the installation, which includes an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) and voice/data satellite communications, were to begin this month. Certification flights are scheduled for October, and the system’s certification is expected in December 2004. Visit

New Interfaces

Ryan International recently announced that its Multi-Hazard Display will interface with Honeywell’s KGP-560 enhanced ground proximity warning system and L-3 Avionics’ WX-500 Stormscope weather mapping sensor. Visit

Emirates Launches Wi-Fi Service

Emirates Airlines, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has launched a new service that allows passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops to send and receive e-mail while in flight. Passengers on the carrier’s Airbus A340-500 flying between New York and Dubai can access this service. Visit

Bizjet with FANS

A Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) on a North Atlantic flight recently became the first executive aircraft to perform future air navigation system (FANS) communications, according to Teledyne Controls, the company that provided the BBJ’s FANS-compliant system. Instant text messaging between the aircraft and air traffic control were transmitted and received via Teledyne Control’s onboard TeleLink data link system. The digital TeleLink system can connect to various communications networks, including VHF, satcom and the company’s MagnaStar telephone system. Visit

Integrating ADS-B Links

Terma A/S, Lystrup, Denmark, recently tested what it claims to be the first automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) ground station solution to integrate two competing ADS-B data links: Mode S with extended squitter and VHF data link Mode 4 (VDL-4). The test rig, at Terma’s site in Allerod, Denmark, comprised an ADS-B ground station equipped with a Mode S extended squitter receiver and a VDL-4 radio transponder. Two vehicles, one with a Mode S radio and another with a VDL-4 radio, followed a trial route, covering different types of terrain, with several measured fixed points to compare position accuracy. Terma officials claim the combined solution worked for both ground vehicles and aircraft, and that the system was accurate to about 50 feet (15 m). Visit

Navy Orders More MIDS

The U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SpaWar), San Diego, has awarded a $48.3-million contract to Data Link Solutions for additional Link 16 terminals, which provide jam-resistant voice and data communications. These multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) terminals are to be installed in F/A-18, F-16, EA-6B, MH-60 and B-2 aircraft in the United States, as well as in aircraft operated by the Swiss, Polish, Belgian and Taiwanese militaries. The contract brings the total number of terminals ordered to more than 800. Data Link Solutions is a BAE Systems-Rockwell Collins joint venture. Visit

Iridium News

NetJets Inc., Woodbridge, N.J., a fractional business aircraft provider, has placed an order for 50 AirCell ST 3100 Iridium satellite communications systems for its fleet of Raytheon Hawker 400XPs. The AirCell system provides airborne, worldwide access to voice and data services through the Iridium network. The systems will be installed in the aircraft prior to retail delivery.

In more Iridium news, Aloha Airlines, Honolulu, has outfitted three Boeing 737-200 aircraft and nine 737-700 aircraft with automated flight information reporting systems (AFIRS) from AeroMechanical Services Ltd. (AMS), Calgary, Canada. AFIRS uses the Iridium network to transmit operational data from the aircraft through AMS’ Uptime near real-time data service. Visit

Collision Avoidance For UAVs

The U.S. Air Force has enlisted the aid of Northrop Grumman Corp. to develop collision avoidance technology for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The company will develop a see-and-avoid sensing architecture designed to allow UAVs to share airspace with piloted air vehicles. Northrop Grumman expects to complete work on the $1.9-million contract in 2007. Visit

Embraer 190 HUD

JetBlue’s Embraer 190s will feature a new head-up guidance system developed by Embraer and Flight Dynamics, a business of Rockwell Collins. The $60-million contract calls for dual head-up displays to be integrated into the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics systems on the Embraer 190. HUD technology will be based on Flight Dynamics’ HGS-5600 system. Visit

Elbit/Honeywell HUD

Elbit Systems Ltd.’s U.S. subsidiary has teamed up with Honeywell’s International Air Transport Division to supply head-up displays (HUDs) to the commercial air transport market. Elbit’s overhead electro-optical projection units will be integrated into Honeywell’s new HUD. Initially, the system will be installed in a cargo carrier’s fleet of widebody aircraft. Visit and

New for J-UCAS

The two competitors in the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, recently selected products for their vehicles.

Boeing selected Green Hills Software’s Integrity-178B real-time operating system (RTOS) and development software tools for its X-45C J-UCAS. Integrity will be used in the X-45C’s vehicle management system (VMS). Boeing will use Green Hills’ AdaMULTI integrated development environment tools to develop the VMS embedded software application.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman has chosen Smiths Aerospace to provide several systems for its X-47B J-UCAS. Smiths will provide vehicle management computers, electrical power generation and distribution, mission computers, remote input/output units, ground-based data link computers and, through a partnership with Argo-Tech, the fuel measurement and management systems.

J-UCAS is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy/Boeing project meant to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of a networked system of unmanned air vehicles for both the Air Force and Navy. Operations could include suppression of enemy air defense, deep strike, electronic attack, intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. Visit and

Systems Selected for 7E7

Boeing has selected a third Honeywell system for installation on its 7E7 Dreamliner. In addition to the navigation package and the crew information system/management system, Honeywell will provide flight control electronics, which include the fly-by-wire system and the automated flight control system, or autopilot. Combined, the three deals could potentially earn Honeywell more than $2.5 billion over the life of the B7E7 program.

Boeing also has selected Thales to provide its electrical power conversion system (PCS) for the 7E7. The Dreamliner’s electrical network will incorporate several different electrical standards, ranging from DC to variable frequency AC at various frequencies and voltages. Thales’ PCS will convert the different sources into the appropriate standard. Visit and

Mobile Phones in Cabins

Several companies are working on ways to allow airline passengers the use of mobile phones, laptop computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) while in flight. Airbus, SITA Inc. and Tenzing have formed a joint venture to offer communications services that can be customized by each airline and support various personal communication devices. Passengers will be billed through their normal mobile operator or Internet service provider. The new joint venture company will be unveiled at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) annual conference in Seattle this month.

ARINC and the Norway-based telecommunications provider, Telenor ASA, also have announced a similar technology that would allow passengers to use their cell phones on airliners. The version offered by the two companies would use the Inmarsat satcom system.

And AirCell Inc., Louisville, Colo., recently completed the initial test run of its new airborne communications link. It averaged 300 to 500 kilobits/s with peak rates up to 2.4 megabits/s. AirCell hopes to use this technology to develop a broadband system that would allow passengers to use cellular telephones and other wireless devices while on the aircraft. The company plans to deploy a nationwide network in the next 18 to 24 months. Visit,, and

New ARINC Unit

ARINC Inc. has formed an independent business unit, ARINC Managed Services, LLC. The new company will focus on providing contract management, operations and maintenance services for government and private industry. ARINC Managed Services will be wholly owned but separately operated and will establish its own headquarters. The former senior director of ARINC Global Maintenance Services, James Martin, will head the new company. Visit

New Acquisitions

Teledyne Technologies Inc. has announced that its subsidiary, Teledyne Investments, has completed the acquisition of Reynolds Industries, which produces high-voltage connectors and subassemblies. Also, Esterline Technologies, Bellevue, Wash., has acquired Leach International Corp. and Leach Technology Group, which comprise Leach Holding Corp. And Radstone Technology has acquired Octec Ltd., a UK-based provider of image processing and video tracking equipment. Visit,, and

Joint Air Campaign Planning

QinetiQ, Hampshire, UK, has announced a new command and control system that facilitates the planning and execution of joint air operations by different countries. Working with PC-based architecture, Agile C2 includes three software components–StratPlan, OpsPlan and TacPlan–which can be used separately or jointly. As the components’ names imply, Agile C2’s range of planning coordination extends from tactical to strategic. Visit

Aerial Common Sensor

The U.S. Army has awarded a Lockheed Martin-led team an $879-million contract to develop the aerial common sensor (ACS). The next-generation airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and target identification system, installed on a militarized Embraer ERJ-145, will be used to replace current ISR aircraft like the Army’s Guardrail Common Sensor and the Navy’s EP-3 aircraft. The contract has a potential value of more than $7 billion during the 20-year program. Visit

EW on Raptor

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has chosen BAE Systems’ digital electronic warfare (EW) receiver technology as the baseline EW system for future production lots of the U.S. Air Force’s F/A-22 Raptor. The EW receiver will be installed on 24 F/A-22s, with production to be completed in 2007. Visit

TCAS for CV-22

Boeing announced it will have Honeywell supply traffic alert collision avoidance systems (TCAS) and cockpit displays for the 50 CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force for special operations. TCAS data will be presented on a dual-mode, 4-by-4-inch screen that also serves as a standby flight instrument display. Visit

Jeppesen and Airbus

Jeppesen and Airbus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide integrated information management systems. The system will combine Airbus’ air-

craft performance and electronic document modules with Jeppesen’s nav charts, documentation and taxi position awareness application. It will be offered on Airbus’ A320, A330, A340 and A380 families of aircraft. Visit

Global Hawk Sensor Management

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems has awarded Vista Controls, a subsidiary of Curtiss-Wright Corp., a $5.8-million phase-two contract to enhance the Global Hawk sensor management unit (SMU). The contract covers the design, development and manufacture of 10 units, which are to provide data collection and processing support. Visit

CMC to Supply Honeywell

Honeywell has selected CMC Electronics to supply GPS receivers and satcom antennas. CMC will provide its 24-channel CMA-3024 GPS receiver, an upgraded version of its CMA-3012 model. The new receiver will support certification growth, including primary means oceanic and remote area navigation (TSO-C129a), primary means continental navigation (TSO-C145a Beta-1), GPS precision approach (TSO-C145a Beta-3) and required navigation performance (RNP) area navigation.

One hundred CMA-2200 intermediate gain antennas were ordered from CMC to accompany Honeywell’s Aero-I satcom system. Deliveries of the antennas are to be completed by June 2006. Visit

EGPWS on Cirrus SR

Cirrus Design Corp. announced it will offer the Bendix/King KGP 560 enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) as a factory-installed option on the Cirrus SR series aircraft. Visit

First A380 Simulator

In a training equipment package worth some $19 million, Qantas in mid-July purchased the first Airbus A380 full-flight simulator. CAE plans to deliver the system, based on the company’s Sim XXI technology, to Qantas in the summer of 2006. Qantas has ordered 12 A380s. Visit

Data Link On Pioneer

Tadiran Spectralink, part of Israel’s Elisra Group, has won a U.S. tender to upgrade Pioneer unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) with new Ku band digital data link terminals. The data link allows secure communications to be transmitted from the UAV to a mobile ground user. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operate the Pioneer. Visit

ELT On Airbus 380

Airbus has selected ELTA’s ADT406 emergency locator transmitter (ELT) for the new A380. The ELTs deploy and transmit via Russia’s COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system. Visit

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