The sheer diversity and originality of recent new business won by Esterline CMC Electronics speak volumes for the strategy outlined for the Canadian avionics specialist by its president Greg Yeldon. He highlighted strong investment in core technologies, speed and flexibility in getting new systems into service and a strong desire to do whatever it takes to get into key new markets as the pillars of CMC’s business plan.
A prime example of this is the announcement that the group’s integrated glass Cockpit 4000 avionics suite is a key part of the new Iomax Archangel armed surveillance making its debut at the Paris Air Show. North Carolina-based Iomax has taken a Thrush Aircraft crop duster and turned it into a versatile border patrol, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.
The CMC avionics suite is fitted in both the front and rear cockpits of the armed, two-seater Archangel. The front cockpit consists of three 5- by 7-inch multifunction displays and one up-front control panel. The rear cockpit has one of each of these units, which are driven directly by the Cockpit 4000’s mission computer that provides control and display functions for the high-resolution graphics associated with the navigation and mission data.
Here at the Paris Air Show this week, CMC (Hall 3 Stand E7) is also announcing the signing of a new license agreement under which Russia’s Ulyanovsk Instrument Manufacturing Design Bureau will start producing its CMA-2012C Doppler velocity sensor for use on a variety of domestically built helicopters. “This sensor is lighter and smaller than all the Doppler sensors available on the market today,” commented UIMDB general director Nikolay Makarov. “UIMDB is delighted to offer this high-reliability product to helicopter manufacturers in Russia.”
The CMA-2012C sensor handles the measurement of three velocity components and navigation capabilities. According to CMC it offers excellent performance during hover and is less impacted by precipitation than other sensors, making it popular with military and paramilitary operators.
Another initiative to breathe new life into older airframers is the CMC’s just-issued supplementary type certificate for its IntegriFlight GPS landing system to be used to provide GPS localizer performance with vertical guidance approach operations on a Boeing 737 Classic airliners. The STC has already been issued by European and Canadian authorities.
Meanwhile in the military sector, Borsight Inc. has selected CMC’s TacView portable mission display to provide real-time information in the cockpit as part of an upgrade program for the U.S. Air National Guard’s C-130H aircraft. The contract covers dual TacView installations on 56 C-130Hs, and allows for possible follow-on order. Deliveries begin this month and should be complete by October.
Also this summer, CMC is set to start delivering Cockpit 4000NG avionics suites to Korea Aerospace Industries, which is contracted by the Peruvian air force to supply an integrated glass cockpit for 20 KT-1P turboprop trainer aircraft. The aircraft being supplied to Peru is based on Korea’s own KT-1 trainer.
Last year, CMC introduced the Cockpit 4000NG featuring large displays, a head-up display, synthetic-vision system and digital map application. “The larger displays are much more effective [for flight crew] and we consider ourselves to be an important enabler of achieving what the customer’s mission is,” Patrick Champagne, CMC’s vice president for cockpits and systems integration, told AIN. The package can integrate a mix of sensors, radios and weapons systems.
According to Yeldon, CMC’s flat management structure has allowed it to respond quickly and decisively when customers come to them with some new requirement. “We look to be very agile and quick [in responding], and given CMC’s size [relatively small compared with the major avionics OEMs], this has been critical for our success.” As an example of this rapid response approach, he pointed to several C-130 cockpit modernization programs for government clients such as Chile that have been completed in record time.
The company freely acknowledges that it doesn’t have all the answers to client’s needs in-house, but argues that this makes it more willing to forge partnerships with other suppliers who can strengthen the overall offering. “[Partners] often have the best solution that allows us to offer best in class systems, and we invest heavily in at the software and platform integration levels,” explained Yeldon.
CMC also sees growing demand for its sensor packages that can allow operators to match more cost-effective airborne platforms with the job that needs doing. “It’s about being able to use the right tool to do the job and that might mean not using an expensive jet for surveillance missions,” said Champagne. “We can provide the same avionics [from a more expensive aircraft] to support the ability to integrate multiple missions.”