[Avionics Today 11-18-2014] In 2013, Lion Air placed a historic $24 billion order for 234 Airbus A320 aircraft. Now, the growing Indonesian carrier is equipping this new fleet with an integrated surveillance system from Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) and cockpit recording technology from L-3 in an effort to both comply with future airspace mandates and help its pilots navigate the increasingly congested Asia Pacific airspace.
ACSS T3CAS integrated surveillance solution. Photo: ACSS.
Lion Air’s A320s will be equipped with L-3's FA2100 Cockpit Voice Recorder/Flight Data Recorder (CVR/FDR), which is compatible with the future European airspace mandate for recording Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) aircraft messages. Additionally, the aircraft will feature the T3CAS integrated surveillance system developed by ACSS, which combines a Traffic Alert & Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) and Mode S Transponder with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out transmission capability, all in a single avionics box.
"The TAWS module within T3CAS bases its alerts on the performance capability of the aircraft, so alerts are based on the specific aircraft being operated and the current condition of the aircraft, as opposed to other TAWS systems that alert based on a set of generic aircraft parameters," Ralph DeMarco, vice president of marketing and sales for L-3 Aviation Products, told Avionics Magazine.
DeMarco also stated that, within the integrated system, the T3CAS system has the "latest Change 7.1 software ahead of the December 2015 [European Aviation Safety Agency] EASA mandate." This mandate requires all TCAS on aircraft operating in European airspace to include Change 7.1 software. The software delivers safety features to operators, including reversal logic, new aural alerting for Adjust Vertical Speed, and “Level-Off, Level-Off” Resolution Advisories (RAs) to make it more clear that a reduction in vertical rate is required, according to ACSS.
These operational safety features will benefit Lion Air as it introduces the 234 A320s it has on order into its fleet over the next decade. Global air traffic forecasts from Airbus, Boeing and aviation market analysts project the Asia-Pacific region —where Lion Air is based — to lead the world in air traffic by 2032. Flying in such congested airspace will require avionics that increase situational awareness for pilots and allow for more efficient Air Traffic Management (ATM).
The CPDLC functionality allowed by L-3's cockpit recorder technology, for example, will allow Lion Air pilots to communicate more efficiently with Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in the Asia-Pacific airspace if Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) decide to upgrade and allow for that capability, which will help increase future aircraft flight path efficiency in the region.
“With the increase in air traffic, our selection of the most advanced technology avionics to monitor both terrestrial and airborne obstacles will enable Lion Air to provide a safe and comfortable journey for passengers,” said Rusdi Kiran, CEO of Lion Air Group, regarding the airline's selection of the ACSS avionics package.
In addition to the future TCAS Change 7.1 software mandate compliance enabled by Lion Air's avionics suite, the aircraft will also be compliant with the future ADS-B Out mandate in the United States.
"The Mode S transponder within T3CAS (along with the ACSS’s XS-950 and NXT-800/600 transponder models) is DO-260B/ADS-B Out capable. ACSS is the only Mode S supplier with certified DO-260B transponders for airliners,” said DeMarco. “Having DO-260B now means that aircraft with T3CAS will be equipped ahead of DO-260B/ADS-B Out mandates."
In addition to the A320 cockpit, Boeing has also selected the ACSS T3CAS as the standard surveillance avionics for the KC-46A and Embraer for the KC-390 military transport aircraft, DeMarco added.
"In all, more than 30 airlines — including Chengdu Airlines, Interjet, Air Arabia and Lion Air — are now either flying or have ordered A320/A330 aircraft with T3CAS installed," said DeMarco.