Avionics Update: Thales vies for inroads at Bell and Agusta
Having established a strong position with the French-German Eurocopter joint venture, avionics maker Thales of Paris is now seeking to achieve greater export sales of its civil helicopter avionics. Gil Michielin, general manager of Thales Helicopter Avionics, explained that unlike the military sector the U.S. civil rotorcraft market is open to competition from foreign companies. Thales is now gaining ground with both Bell and Agusta/Westland, he said, adding that its Meghas avionics suite for helicopters could be flying aboard a new rotorcraft from either company sometime in the near future. Meghas is standard on Eurocopter’s EC 120, EC 130, AS 350-B3 Squirrel, EC 135, EC 145 and EC 155. More than 1,000 of the avionics suites have been shipped. Last year, Eurocopter recorded 375 new sales, and Thales will equip most of these helicopters. The new Bell/Agusta AB139 medium-twin helicopter flies with Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics suite.