Paris Air Show

TEAC Aerospace scores big mission data recorder pacts

 - December 15, 2006, 12:53 PM

TEAC Aerospace Technologies of Montebello, California (Hall 3 Booth D13g) is announcing here in Paris its receipt of a multiyear contract from General Dynamics UK for its solid-state, digital MDR-80 mission data recorders for more than 240 Eurofighter Typhoons. In April, the company announced it had signed a contract with Eurocopter for MDR-80s for the French air force AS 555AW Fennec helicopter upgrade program.

The basic MDR-80 provides a single channel of video recording, but plug-in application cards permit customized configurations. TEAC currently offers some 30 different operational configurations to customers worldwide. Depending on add-ons, the MDR-80 costs about $15,000 to $30,000 per installation, according to Al McGowan, TEAC Aerospace Technologies director of business development.

For the Eurofighter Typhoon, the MDR-80s will be configured to record four critical video sources, each with more than 90 minutes of high-resolution recording capacity, and 1553 data on removable memory modules. These modules interface with a ground debriefing system, making video and data interface quickly available and fully synchronized. Delivery of Eurofighter MDR-80 qualification units will begin this fall, with production recorders planned for a year later.

For its Fennec helicopters, the French air force ordered MDR-80s with two video sources and radio audio. The MDR-80 is the latest in TEAC’s line of analog airborne video tape recorders, which fly on more than 20,000 fighters and helicopters in 50 countries.

“Train Like You Fight”

Here in Paris, TEAC is also featuring its MDDS Pro mission data debrief software, which takes data from the company’s mission data recorders to create mission debriefs on standard Windows-equipped personal computers. Minimum system requirements include a Pentium IV 3.6GHz processor, two 74-gigabyte hard drives and either Windows XP or 2000 Professional.

Digital replay of both training and actual combat missions can be displayed on one or two screens, simultaneously showing data in up to eight different windows. MDDS Pro adds advanced 3-D software to standard video/audio files, including visuals of head-up display, radar, helmet-mounted display and multi-functional displays. A virtual satellite view displays the flight with all participating aircraft, or any number selected by the user. The user can also select viewpoint angle and direction and view the cockpits of any of the participating aircraft.

TEAC recently received a contract from Boeing to supply both MDR-80s and mission data debriefing software for 210 U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets. Launch customer for the more advanced MDSS Pro is the Oman air force, which will use the software with the Lockheed Martin F-16s it is receiving later this year. Depending on customer requirements (TEAC can also supply debriefing station hardware), the cost of a MDDS Pro system ranges from $50,000 to $250,000.

In-flight Entertainment

On the civil side, TEAC has received contract awards from America West and Hawaiian Airlines for its hard-disk digital video reproducer for passenger entertainment systems, which can replay up to 60 hours of MPEG video at 3.5Mbps using a 120-gigabyte hard-disk drive memory.

For America West, the units will be an Airbus A319 linefit program, managed by Rockwell International, with first deliveries planned for this November. For Hawaiian, the units will replace existing video systems on the airline’s Boeing 767s, with installation expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Finally, McGowan said Air Berlin last month decided to go fleetwide with its order for TEAC’s Airtrack moving-map system, increasing its order from the original 40 Boeing 737s to include 150 more aircraft, this time Airbus A320 family. Developed with Lufthansa Technik and designed to replace competing Airshow systems, Airtrack provides a variety of virtual reality flight views that show both two- and three-dimensional topographical maps, as well as 3-D views from the flight deck, cabin window and chase-plane perspectives. The system uses high-resolution satellite photographic imagery and GPS-derived positioning to provide passengers highly realistic screen views of the earth below the aircraft, regardless of outside visibility and lighting conditions.