Fusion TSO a major step for Rockwell Collins

 - May 30, 2011, 5:45 AM

The Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics system is “good to go,” reported chairman, president and CEO Clay Jones during an April 21 earnings call. The FAA issued the final in a series of 50 hardware and software technical standard orders (TSO) for the Pro Line Fusion in April, and Rockwell Collins is now working on a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation in its Challenger 601 test airplane. The next big step for Pro Line Fusion is certification on Bombardier’s Global Express XRS and Global 5000 as the Global Vision system. Pro Line Fusion has also been selected for Bombardier’s Learjet 85 and C Series, Embraer’s Legacy 450/500, the Gulfstream G250 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet. While the ultra-long-range Global 7000 and 8000 will also have a Global Vision cockpit, Bombardier has not yet indicated whether the avionics will be based on Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion, although it seems likely.

Although there were delays in Fusion development, Jones said, “What we have done is worked with [Bombardier] to make up that time and to get these certifications done.” Bombardier has confirmed to AIN that the XRS/5000 Global Vision programs are on time.

“Unfortunately, delays in our avionics development have been a contributing factor to missing some program milestones,” said Rockwell Collins senior v-p and CFO Patrick Allen during the earnings call. “Nevertheless, we have worked with Bombardier to keep the overall program on schedule. And it is our understanding that entry into service of the aircraft is still on the schedule that Bombardier has communicated. However, as a result of development delays, Bombardier is experiencing delays in receiving some customer advance payments. To help Bombardier bridge this short period between now and aircraft certification, which triggers the expected customer payments, we have agreed to provide a short-term interest-free cash payment of $237 million to partially offset those delays.” Bombardier received the money on April 20 and must repay it within 60 days, by June 20. “This is really a one-time, pretty unusual transaction for us,” Allen said.

Pro Line Fusion’s key features are synthetic and enhanced vision, including synthetic vision on a head-up display, MultiScan weather radar, geo-referenced electronic charts, terrain maps, graphical weather, airport surface management system, graphical flight planning and networking of ground and onboard systems.