CMC selected to upgrade Finnish and UAE trainers

Singapore Air Show » 2010
January 30, 2010, 9:44 PM

Finland’s Patria has chosen Esterline CMC Electronics (CMC) to perform a glass-cockpit upgrade for the Finnish Air Force’s BAE Systems Hawk Mk66 advanced jet trainers. The air force purchased the 18 ex-Swiss Air Force Hawk Mk66s in 2007 to add to its fleet of Hawk Mk51s.

Separately, CMC has won a contract from Pilatus Aircraft to supply its head-up display (HUD) subsystem and latest generation flight management system for the United Arab Emirates air force’s 25 PC-21 turboprop trainers.

Patria, which is owned by the state of Finland and EADS, also chose CMC to supply its integrated glass Cockpit 4000 for the avionics upgrade of the Finnish Hawk Mk51s in January 2007. It recently made the final deliveries for that program. On completion of this latest contract, the Finnish Air Force will have a fleet of 26 upgraded Hawks, consisting of 18 Mk66 and eight Mk51 advanced trainers.

Meanwhile, the HUD subsystem for the UAE PC-21s includes CMC’s SparrowHawk HUD integrated with a HUD symbol generator and a video display unit. The SparrowHawk is a compact, 25-degree total field of view device that can display both raster video and stroke symbology. Its unique lens systems and high-performance combiners provide symbol brightness up to 3,000 feet/Lumens.
According to Patrick Champagne, vice president of CMC’s newly established cockpit and systems integration division, the Canadian group has achieved growth over the past 12 months despite difficult trading conditions. It was able to increase its presence on several airframes.

For instance, last year CMC completed certification of the new cockpit it developed for Hawker Beechcraft’s T6B turboprop trainer. It has now entered production and deliveries to the U.S. Navy have begun. Morocco also has selected the aircraft with its modified glass cockpit.

In April and July of this year, Hawker Beechcraft will conduct exercises to demonstrate the AT-6 attack version of the T6B that could be used in counterinsurgency operations or for surveillance by the U.S. Air Force. The Cockpit 4000 upgrade that CMC has provided for the aircraft will allow for simulated training exercises via the radar and data links.

At the same time, CMC has also been supplying avionics for Korean Aerospace Industries’ new KT-1C turboprop trainer. It also has started performing cockpit retrofits for C-130 military transports, certifying the upgraded aircraft for customers such as the UAE on the same basis as commercial airliners. This program was established in response to the C-130’s changing roles and the need for the aircraft to be operated under civil rules.

Jean-Michel Comptois, CMC’s vice president of marketing and sales, and government and public affairs, told AIN that the group has combined its cockpit upgrade and systems integration operations to achieve greater synergy between these product families. For example, there is 80-percent technical commonality between the civil PilotView and military TacView electronic flight bags (EFBs).

Similarly, CMC plans to develop its CMA range of flight management systems so they will be available as software upgrades that could be integrated with other products. For example, it could integrate software to allow the military CMA4000 EFB to meet the new communications, navigation, surveillance (CNS) requirements for air traffic management. The same approach would allow the technology to be used on platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles and in flight simulators.

This year, Lockheed Martin intends to select a supplier to make the cockpit of its C-130J military transport compliant with the CNS ATM standards. CMC is offering its CMA9000 unit for this program. “No-one would be faster than us from contract award to first flight,” said Comptois, adding that CMC upgraded C-130s for the UAE in just 18 months.

TacView is to be standard equipment on new C-130Js and is compliant with the Link 16 data link standards for the U.S. military’s real-time information in the cockpit requirement. Comptois said the Indian military, along with several other prospective export customers, has asked CMC to propose a common EFB that can be used by different branches of the defense forces.

By around July of this year, CMC (Stand Q87) expects to be under contract to provide a new precision landing system for Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, which could allow aircraft to land on oil rigs or ships in visibility down to as low as 100 feet and at a distance of one quarter of a mile.    

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