L-3 seeks $21.7 million from Cirrus in SmartDeck lawsuit

 - June 30, 2009, 11:36 AM

L-3 Avionics Systems is seeking $21.7 million in a lawsuit against lightplane maker Cirrus Design over the cancellation of an order for SmartDeck cockpit systems and money allegedly owed for Stormscope and other stand-alone products.

In the lawsuit, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based avionics maker alleges that Cirrus signed a contract to purchase 350 SmartDeck systems to serve as the “sole-supplier” cockpit for the Cirrus SR22-G3, but later reneged on the deal by partnering with Garmin for an SR22 cockpit called Perspective.

L-3 says Cirrus then agreed to go ahead with the purchase of 75 SmartDeck systems, but in December asked that L-3 not ship the systems because of a slowdown in aircraft orders. In February L-3 sent Cirrus a bill for $18.7 million to cover SmartDeck development costs. Cirrus allegedly replied that it owed L-3 only $3.5 million–the stated purchase price for the 75 systems.

Since then, “Cirrus has failed to pay any amount due to L-3 and has not responded to any communications from L-3,” the avionics maker said in its lawsuit, which is requesting an additional $2.99 million to recover money allegedly owed for stand-alone systems.

Cirrus has until July 7 to respond to the claims. A U.S. federal judge last month approved a transfer of venue for the lawsuit from Michigan to Cirrus’s home state of Minnesota.

L-3 had also been selected as the avionics development partner for the Cirrus Vision SF50 single-engine jet, but Cirrus in March announced a Garmin cockpit would be used in the production version of that airplane.
Neither company would comment on the lawsuit.