NBAA Convention News

ACSS sees brighter skies ahead

 - October 18, 2009, 1:33 PM

ACSS, the Phoenix-based surveillance and reconnaissance technology division of L-3 Communications (Booth No. 4000), is at NBAA’09 showcasing a number of new developments. These include new TCAS II traffic and collision avoidance system software, selection of its latest TCAS II system by Embraer, enhanced terrain avoidance warning system (TAWS) functionality and progress in its SafeRoute terminal area guidance program.

Kris Ganase, ACSS president, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about prospects in the near future.  “This has been a tough year for us. The business and regional markets have gone down at least 50 percent. When those guys hurt, we hurt, as well. We’re looking at some upturn in our business next year, not necessarily because the industry has recovered but because we’ll be introducing new products, new functions, which should bring some growth for us. The big thing is all the work we’ve done on SafeRoute and NextGen. 

“When the business and regional market rises, we’ll be right there with a whole new set of products and functions, ready as soon as the market begins recovery,” he added. Regarding employment, Ganase noted, “We had to make adjustments
earlier this year. When you lose half of your market in one segment, some become necessary. But they’ve been minor compared to what others have had to do.”

The company’s new TCAS 2000 is so widely installed that a good upgrade in separation performance will be easily achieved throughout the civil fleet, predicted ACSS spokesman Steve Henden. The enhanced reversal logic in version 7.1 adds aural annunciation to the resolution advisory (RA) guidance on a vertical speed display. Version 7.1’s reversal logic replaces “adjust vertical speed, adjust” RAs with a “level off, level off” RA. The RA protocol is revised from only changes in vertical rate to changing from descent or climb to level flight (reversal). The new RA algorithms in version 7.1 will allow quicker resolution of potential airspace conflicts while using lesser vertical rates, Henden noted.

Ganase said version 7.1  installation is not presently required but, “We believe it will become mandatory both here and in Europe in the near future.” The change 7.1 software  lists for $8,500 per software license, with multi-aircraft discounts available.

Henden also said Embraer has selected ACSS’s latest TCAS II system, the 3000SP, as standard for its E-Jet family of regional jets and the new Embraer Phenom 300 light jet. NBAA Convention News asked Henden how TCAS 3000SP differs from the ACSS T2CAS and TCAS 2000 TCAS II systems. The “SP” stands for surveillance processor, he explained.  “It has a lot more computer power and capacity and provides the ability to add future enhancements such as ADS-B and SafeRoute applications.”

 To date, the SafeRoute software has been mostly airline-oriented, Henden explained. “We have a current development program with US Airways, and in November we start a demonstration program with the FAA and US Airways to expand surface area movement management (SAMM) into surface indicating and alerting. We hope to prove the effectiveness of this new enhancement to SAMM, including predictive modes for both taxi and airborne operations.” SafeRoute, part of the first NextGen (next generation air traffic control) environment, has been FAA-certified in cooperation with United Parcel Service at Louisville, Ky.

ACSS also announced that its Class A standalone TAWS for Hawker Beechcraft now features enhancements to TAWS+ for turboprops and jets. The latter will have TAWS+ performance, providing real-time performance-based alerting factors to enable three-dimensional alerting and advisories based on the speed and climb capability of the aircraft in which it is installed.