CMC Offers Hands-on Demos Of Touchscreen Cockpit 4000 Display

Farnborough Air Show » 2012
July 8, 2012, 12:30 AM

Esterline CMC Electronics has something new to show Farnborough International Airshow visitors, a touchscreen display that is part of CMC’s new Cockpit 4000 Next Gen, a technology demonstrator for future military training and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance attack aircraft. CMC is also demonstrating the Cockpit 9000 system at its stand (Hall 1 Stand B11), as well as upgraded electronic flight bags (EFBs) and a new digital head-up display (HUD).

Cockpit 4000, CMC’s original glass-panel avionics suite, is currently flying on the Hawker Beechcraft T-6B/C and AT-6, Korea Aerospace KT-1C/T and BAE’s Hawk Mk51 and Mk66. “We feel we are in strong positions in the trainer market,” said CMC president Greg Yeldon.

The Next Gen version combines Cockpit 4000’s existing three five-by-seven-inch displays and the upfront control panel’s switches and knobs into one large 7- by 20-inch display that is also a touchscreen. Also on display is CMC’s new digital light engine SparrowHawk HUD, which features an LCD to project the images onto the combiner glass, instead of a CRT as used on the current SparrowHawk HUD.

CMC has demonstrated to potential customers the digital HUD, especially the unit’s ability to retrofit existing SparrowHawk HUDs with the new digital light engine. “It would be a significant life cycle cost savings,” said Jim Palmer, vice president of aviation products, pointing out that the new HUD has much longer mean-time-between-failure and uses less power. Another advantage of the digital light engine is the ability to display images instead of just symbology on the HUD. This could include synthetic-vision and enhanced-vision (infrared) images. CMC’s HUD is a military product, positioned because of its size and weight for the trainer market.

In the general aviation market, CMC has signed up two customers for the SmartDeck integrated cockpit: Cobalt’s Co50 piston single and Evektor’s EV-55 twin-turboprop. CMC’s third-generation infrared enhanced vision system, the SureSight CMA-2700, is now in full production and flying on new Bombardier Global 5000s and 6000s equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion-based Vision cockpit. The CMA-2700 will next be certified on Bombardier’s Challenger 605.

Cockpit 9000, also being demonstrated at the CMC stand, has been installed in 17 of the 25 Saudi Arabian and Chilean C-130s contracted for the avionics retrofit. During the past year, 10 C-130s received the Cockpit 9000 upgrade. “Putting ten back in service over a twelve-month period has been pretty impressive,” Yeldon said, “and we’re proud of that accomplishment. We’re still pursuing a number of opportunities in the C-130 upgrade market. We see it as a very strong market for CMC.”

1,000 Candidates

About 1,000 C-130s are possible candidates for a Cockpit 9000 retrofit, which brings the workhorse into the modern era with capabilities such as RNP, Waas LPV and the latest radio communications features. “This is because of our FMS,” said Patrick Champagne, vice president of cockpits and systems integration. “It’s the heart of that cockpit solution and brings the capability to interface with modern systems that need to be compliant with efficient operations in [today’s] airspace.”

CMC expects shortly to receive a technical standard order, followed by a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the performance Vnav FMS upgrade on the Airbus A310, in a program with the Canadian Department of National Defense. “That opens a significant market with Airbus and their operator community,” said Yeldon.

On the air transport front, CMC’s approved CMA-5024 GPS landing sensor system is available for operators that can use satellite-based augmentation systems to shoot LPV approaches. “It’s a simple installation from a wiring standpoint,” said Palmer, “and doesn’t touch the FMS, so it is a standalone navaid that will allow LPV approaches in areas where there is not a lot of ILS coverage.”

Despite the growth of tablet computers as chart and document display devices in cockpits, CMC retains a strong share in the commercial and military electronic flight bag (EFB) markets. The EFBs have been upgraded to the latest Intel Dual Core I7 processor. “That’s giving a lot more capability to both of those units and flexibility of additional applications that can be hosted,” said Yeldon.

CMC plans to deliver more than 100 military TacView EFBs for the C-130H, and the U.S. Air National Guard is considering installation of the TacView on the 200-aircraft KC-135 fleet. The civil PilotView is certified on a variety of business jets and Boeing aircraft, both for Class 2 and 3 applications. CMC’s EFBs are also available for hands-on demonstrations here at the Farnborough show.

“The reality is budgets are under pressure everywhere,” Yeldon concluded, “and there’s a lot more emphasis on what we can provide, which is low-cost flexible solutions into the retrofit market. The strength of CMC is that we’re OEM and retrofit, commercial and military, and in today’s environment having strong retrofit [programs] is a positive.”

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