EuroAvionics Special Mission Upgrade Proves Popular
EuroAvionics is at Heli-Expo’13 celebrating 20 years since its founding in 1993. Since then it has become established as a key supplier of cockpit avionics enhancement packages for special-mission helicopters and military aircraft. The company is exhibiting (Booth No. C3930) next to U.S. partner LCX Systems, which serves the Americas market from its base in Sarasota, Fla.
Although EuroAvionics still has one office in Stuttgart, Germany, it has many partnerships around the world supporting its products, according to Thomas Latacz, head of sales. Last year the company launched the latest iteration of its flagship situational awareness and mission system enhancement package, EuroNav 7. “It is used by military, coast guards, police and the oil and gas industry and it is not limited to helicopters, though that’s the main market,” he said. “We also have installations on Embraer Super Tucanos, C-130s and so on.” The largest EuroNav 7 customer in the U.S. is the Army National Guard, for its Eurocopter UH-72 Lakotas.
EuroAvionics supplies EuroNav 7 as a customer option for “all the big helicopter manufacturers,” including Eurocopter, Sikorsky, Bell, AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, said Latacz. “We’re generally looking into all possibilities,” he added. “We have, from ’07, delivered 60 to 70 EuroNav 7s.” EuroNav 7 is an update to EuroNav 5, which still has a large installed base of some 1,500 aircraft.
Enhancements introduced with EuroNav 7 include an optional Iridium satcom module, developed in conjunction with SkyTrac; inclusion of an optional wireless networking chip so maintenance tasks can be performed wirelessly; and a new control panel, for installations without touch-screen displays.
Another aim is to become even better at tailored solutions. “Now we are improving our MMI [man-machine interface],” Latacz said, “although no installation is like another. We do special developments for customers, such as interfaces with other systems–for example, to get radar data onto a moving map.
This latest generation of EuroNav was introduced late last year and EuroAvionics is continuing to evolve the product. New capabilities could include a new computer and other modules, such as a digital video recorder. “We’re also trying to get the functionality of other boxes inside our box,” Latacz added.
With the new wireless access capability, EuroAvionics is working on an iPad app so operators can control the content of the EuroNav system easily and can up- or download updates to maps and data via the company’s servers. “We also want to offer remote maintenance as we see many problems are [due] to misconfiguration, not hardware problems,” he said.
Latacz said EuroAvionics is keeping a close eye on helicopter competitions such as the Armed Aerial Scout, which is the replacement for the U.S. Army’s Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The company is also interested in SAR helicopter programs in the UK, Norway and Asia, although it admits to facing tough competition from Honeywell and Elbit.