“I enter this airshow period feeling much more confident,” said Rockwell Collins CEO and president Kelly Ortberg on the eve of this year’s Farnborough International Airshow. Military budgets are stabilizing, he added, “and this provides much more certainly about what programs are going to be funded going forward.”
In the business aviation market, he said, “we’re seeing stabilization in the end markets. We’re not seeing a snapback, but I believe we’re at the bottom of the cycle.” In the air transport sector, “the up-cycle continues to be in full swing. Last year was very important in new product entries with the 737 Max and A320neo receiving a number of orders, and this gives us confidence that we’re in the early to mid phase of that up-cycle. There’s a lot of runway up ahead.”
A major focus for Rockwell Collins (Hall 4 Stand F9 Chalet B13) is its situational awareness products, which also extend to helicopters. The Helisure product line integrates helicopter synthetic vision and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS).
The Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system is still in the early stages of flying on in-service aircraft, but the next implementation–Embraer’s Legacy 500–is due for certification shortly. The Legacy 500 also is equipped with the EVS-3000 enhanced vision system, which incorporates multispectral sensors to detect infrared and also LED runway lights. EVS-3000 is also on demo at the Rockwell Collins stand, along with the Helisure systems.
Rockwell Collins has new positions on upcoming aircraft, such asincluding the Airbus A350 and Boeing 737 Max, and Ortberg sees a shift in air transport avionics to a less fragmented platform, with increasing amount of avionics boxes now integrated and supplied from one manufacturer instead of multiple suppliers. “The 787 was the catalyst for this change,” he said. “It’s still not entire avionics systems like as on business aircraft, but new airplanes are coming out with much larger integrated packages. We want to eliminate redundant [control display units], which saves weight, power and cost. We have to balance that against the ability of the [airframe manufacturer] to incorporate the features and brand it the way they want.”
This year is the Farnborough Airshow debut for the Rockwell Collins Information Management Services business, which resulted from the company’s acquisition of Arinc in 2013. Also on hand are representatives from the Rockwell Collins Service Solutions division, which provides MRO for all types of avionics, in-flight entertainment services, equipment service, parts, exchange, lease and rental and training and professional services.
On July 7 Rockwell Collins announced that it received an initial FAA supplemental type certificate for a large-format flight display upgrade on Boeing’s 757 and 767. The upgrade, which Rockwell Collins said is the only one offering engine-indicating and crew-alerting system features, includes three LCDs that replace six cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) and numerous analog instruments. The upgrade lowers flight deck weight by 150 pounds and allows operators to add new capabilities available only on LCDs. These could include airport diagrams, datalink weather, surface guidance and synthetic and enhanced vision systems.
Another recent upgrade receiving FAA approval is the Pro Line 21 package for Pro Line II-equipped Hawker 800A business jets. The upgrade replaces legacy CRTs with four 10- by 8-inch LCDs capable of displaying high-resolution electronic charts, graphical weather, enhanced navigation maps, enhanced vision and a soon-to-be-released synthetic vision option.
“These are pretty exciting times,” Ortberg said, “and we feel much more upbeat about end market outlooks.”