Paris Air Show

Development, acquisition make Meggitt cohesive

 - December 15, 2006, 12:30 PM

New products covering a wide range of civil and military applications are showcased by the Meggitt Group, which has become not just much larger since the last Paris Air Show but is also more integrated. Talking to Aviation International News, the company’s group chief executive Terry Twigger declared: “We are more coherent in the way our companies are working together to achieve operational efficiencies and extend our offerings to customers. In particular, the recent Dunlop Aerospace acquisition has boosted our aftermarket support organization worldwide very significantly.”

The group has steadily grown by development and acquisitions, leading to a 19- percent increase in turnover last year. However, at some $732 million, this figure was reached after the conversion of overseas sales into sterling at less favorable exchange rates than 2003, which adversely impacted reported sales by some $70 million. Nevertheless, from key items for the new Airbus A380, to innovative new aerial target systems, Meggitt continues to provide leadership in several niche markets.

Dunlop’s wheels, brakes and antiskid systems on display here (Hall 2B Stand L13) include the nose and wheel braking systems for the A380, while other technologies for the giant airliner on the stand include condition diagnostics systems from Meggitt’s Vibro-Meter subsidiary, as well as Dunlop’s heat management products and Meggitt Safety Systems’ fire detection systems.

Working with Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems, Dunlop Aerospace Braking Systems (DABS) is helping in the design and manufacture of the A380’s wheels and brakes, supplying the torque tube and advanced metal matrix composites for all wheels.

The company’s static display at Le Bourget (Space No. 9) features the products of Meggitt Defence Systems, including the Voodoo piston-engine target now in service and the GT400 towed target that becomes a glider when released for combat engagement. Like the Voodoo, this challenges the economics and performance of jet-powered drones.

Capable of operating at airspeeds between 97 and 320 knots over more than two hours, the Voodoo is set to match the success of the company’s Banshee weapon training system now in service with 42 countries and recently the subject of new orders from Finland and the French navy. The UK MoD has extended its Banshee services contract for a further two years until 2007. Meggitt’s position in the worldwide targets market has been further underpinned by the acquisition of Schreiner’s target business.

Meggitt has received orders from the U.S. Army to provide oil debris monitoring systems for Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters. These will improve the mission effectiveness and availability of the Apache by reducing the number of unnecessary precautionary landings and aborted missions, in addition to lowering system maintenance costs.

Twigger noted that the group “is increasingly combining multiple Meggitt products into the systems and groups of products that the aviation industry wants from selected single sources,” citing as examples: “Dunlop Aerospace, Meggitt Airdynamics and Meggitt Western Design have filled technology gaps in vapor cycling, fans, pumps and compressors and heat exchangers, enabling us to deliver fully integrated thermal management and control systems.”

A leader in engine condition monitoring systems, Meggitt is also contributing to the objective of achieving a more sustainable civil aviation sector by providing data for emissions control and regulatory compliance. Meggitt’s fuel contamination detector provides this using an optical sensor that spectrally analyzes burnt gases.

Inadequate cabling can have fatal consequences and Meggitt’s high-performance cabling is exemplified by its silicon dioxide fireproof cable that can perform for decades in extreme environments and is being deployed to remedy wire harness cable failures in aging military aircraft. Lockheed Martin has selected the new cable for the F-22 fighter program, resulting in $11.8 million savings.

Moreover, the company’s Tufflink cabling has been adapted from a fiber optic decoy’s tow that can withstand explosive deployment, supersonic flight and afterburner exposure without loss of optical performance. Military and commercial airframe manufacturers are using Tufflink to reduce weight, while obviating the need for specialist installation or training for engineers.