Thales has many things to show visitors to its enclosure and pavilion outside Hall 2 at the Paris Air Show. But potential customers can also benefit from two new demonstration facilities that the company has built around Paris. At Gennevilliers, a Customer Innovation Centre (CIC) opened last February to show technology and systems from across the company. The previous month, an Operations Centre was opened by the Thales Air Defense business at Rungis. Both are housed in new buildings, with Gennevilliers having replaced the company‘s old site at Colombiers.
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The $1.6 billion Watchkeeper program for the British Army has made Thales the biggest UAV company in Europe, and in its UAV systems laboratory, also known as the Soul battlelab near Bordeaux, the company’s engineers are exploring the requirements for future ground control stations and mission systems.
Thales is preparing for an anticipated explosion in demand for in-flight Internet connectivity with the opening of its new Connectivity Suite─a facility with its own satcom connection in which the company’s engineers and airline clients can assess and refine Internet-enabled equipment for both the cabin and the cockpit.
A new simulator designed with the latest training approaches in mind is the physical manifestation of a new customer-oriented business approach at Thales’s UK-based simulation and training arm.
Equipment manufacturer Thales is one of the two main shareholders in Helisim, at 45 percent, on par with Eurocopter. The remaining 10 percent is held by Défense Conseil International (DCI). “We see our partnership with Eurocopter as our major investment in simulators,” said Chris Gane, general manager of Thales Training and Simulation. He is looking at opening training centers elsewhere in the world, again in cooperation with Eurocopter.
Flight Safety Technologies of Mystic, Conn., is developing two hazardous warning systems–Socrates and Unicorn. Its Socrates wake-vortex detection and tracking technology is slated to be tested for a month at Denver International Airport starting August 15. Unicorn is a collision avoidance system designed particularly to prevent midairs between piloted airplanes and government-operated unmanned aerial vehicles.
Bombardier is developing an enhanced vision system with partners Thales Avioincs of France and CMC Electronics for its Global Express business jet, the Canadian airframer announced at an NBAA press conference yesterday. Flight testing of the system is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, with customer availability expected in the first quarter of 2005. Texas Instrument’s flight department is the launch customer.
Thales Avionics, the French firm that changed its name from Sextant Avionique last year, announced last month that it will design and certify an enhanced vision system (EVS) for the Head-Up Flight Display System (HFDS) that was certified by the FAA in September. The avionics manufacturer thus becomes the fourth entrant in the EVS development arena, joining Kollsman/Gulfstream, CMC Electronics and Max-Viz.
Thales Avionics has completed the first round of assessments of infrared sensors from “potential partners” that the company said could be incorporated with the enhanced vision system (EVS) in development for the French firm’s Head-up Flight Display System (HFDS). Thales plans to make a final supplier selection in “the very near future,” pending additional rounds of tests and a commitment from a launch customer.
Bombardier revealed last month it is developing an enhanced vision system (EVS) with partners Thales Avionics of France and CMC Electronics of Canada for its Global Express business jet.
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