BAE Systems launched a new version of the Striker integrated display helmet for combat aircraft pilots here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Mark Bowman, the company’s chief test pilot, demonstrated how BAE has leveraged its work on an alternative helmet-mounted display (HMD) for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to produce Striker 2. The company was tapped to provide the alternative, using night-vision goggles, after serious development problems with the Elbit Systems/Rockwell Collins HMD that is integral to the F-35 cockpit.
F-35 test pilots with the U.S. Air Force’s 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, will begin using a third-generation helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) in the next few weeks. The updated HMDS incorporates fixes to the current generation system, which pilots found inadequate and the Pentagon labeled as a technical risk to the F-35 program.
Rockwell Collins is demonstrating a host of new technology solutions at Farnborough 2014, from its MultiScan weather radar to NextGen communications and navigation systems.
“I enter this airshow period feeling much more confident,” said Rockwell Collins CEO and president Kelly Ortberg on the eve of this year’s Farnborough International Airshow. Military budgets are stabilizing, he added, “and this provides much more certainly about what programs are going to be funded going forward.”
This year, L-3 Aviation (Chalet A10-15) should generate more than $500 million in sales, according to Ralph DeMarco, v-p of marketing and sales. The five divisions include Aviation Communication and Surveillance Systems (ACSS) in Phoenix, Arizona, which is an L-3 and Thales joint venture; L-3 Aviation Recorders in Sarasota, Florida; L-3 Avionics Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan; L-3 Display Systems in Alpharetta, Georgia; and L-3 Electronics Systems Services in Canada.
Textron’s Bell Helicopter brought four helicopters to its Farnborough Airshow display (Exhibit Area L2), including a mockup of the Bell 525 Relentless outfitted in search-and-rescue configuration and a mockup of the 505 Jet Ranger X, which just concluded a three-month European tour.
A 407GX is also on the Bell static display, as is a 429 in emergency-medical service configuration. The 429 also just finished a three-month demonstration tour. During FIA14, a corporate-configured Bell 429 is flying demonstration flights.
Neil Simon has joined King Aerospace Commercial (KACC) as avionics manager. Simon will lead the KACC avionics team in Ardmore, Okla., where he will oversee avionics modifications on private and business aircraft. Simon brings 20 years of avionics experience to KACC, last serving as avionics manager/STC project manager at Temple Electronics in Houston. Simon’s avionics career began with an eight-year stint in the U.S. Navy.
This year, L-3 Aviation (Chalet A10-15) should generate more than $500 million in sales, according to Ralph DeMarco, v-p of marketing and sales.
Riding on a wave of military business, electronics group KRET, a subsidiary of Russian Technologies, plans to expand its presence in the global market for civilian avionics and systems by offering avionics packages for the Kamov Ka-226T and Mil Mi-171A2 helicopters and the Tupolev Tu-204SM and Irkut MC-21 narrow-body jetliners.
Thales’ offer in cockpit, cabin and air traffic control (ATC) electronics is evolving into a comprehensive “connected aircraft” concept. The company (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A21) is studying how flight-deck connectivity can piggyback on the satellite communications equipment installed for the passenger cabin. Here at the Farnborough Airshow for the first time is the Avionics 2020 cockpit demonstrator, featuring cockpit-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC).