Asia’s New Airliners Look West for Cockpits
Three of Asia’s new airliner programs have looked west for cockpit technology, and, more specifically to U.S. avionics group Rockwell Collins. For China’s ARJ21 regional jet, it is providing its ProLine 21 cockpit suite, the larger C919 it will feature its full communications, navigation and surveillance package, plus a cabin management and in-flight entertainment system. Meanwhile, in Japan, Mitsubishi’s MRJ regional airliner will use its Fusion avionics.
According to T.C. Chan, vice president and managing director Rockwell Collins Asia Pacific, both programs in China are going well and have allowed to U.S. company to work closely with local companies and put down roots in this vital market. For the C919, Rockwell Collins has completed the joint development of the systems with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (Comac) and by this fall expects to unveil details of the local partnership through which the program will go into production.
“One of China’s national objectives is to elevate the level of sophistication for their industry,” Chan told AIN. “We support this and with this joint venture we can help them. The difference with China is that they have less experience than Airbus and Boeing. They are trying to catch up and they are fast learners, but sometimes the inexperience shows. But there are no issues with the certification and no show-stoppers from an avionics point of view.”
Rockwell Collins already has established its China Systems Support Center to back up its efforts there. Its presence in Asia is further bolstered by a significant technical center in Hyderabad, India, where it already employs 400 engineers. For customer support in the vast Asia Pacific region, Rockwell Collins is well served by repair bases in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as by a new joint venture with China Eastern Airlines in Shanghai, China.
At the Singapore show, Rockwell Collins is demonstrating its new Pave3 in-flight entertainment system. Chan said its IFE packages are doing well in the region with customers including China Eastern and Shandong Airlines.