Development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon is continuing, although the four European partner nations still have not collectively committed funds. However, at the Paris Air Show later this month they plan to sign a letter of intent (LoI) with Eurofighter that confirms their intention to eventually adopt and pay for the new technology.
Whether for safety, economy or to meet ICAO Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) standards, helicopter operators are showing increased interest in capturing and analyzing flight data. Spidertracks (Booth No. 4854), based in Palmerstown North, New Zealand, offers a global satellite-based system for fleet operators that tracks equipped aircraft in real time and records movements and flight data for later analysis.
Wireless health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are flying in four U.S. military rotorcraft on an experimental basis.
According to news reports, when the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling platform suffered a catastrophic well-head blowout then burned and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last April, workers on the rig hesitated to implement multiple safety processes that might have helped save some or all of the 11 lives lost in the ensuing explosion and also prevent the spilling of millions of gallons of oil.
Small, inexpensive GPS jammers carried by truckers have caused the occasional shutdown of the Laas test installation at Newark Airport. The devices, powered by simply plugging into the cigarette lighter, are intended to foil interrogations of the truck's remotely installed GPS and its coupled cellphone by the trucking company's dispatcher to check on the vehicleπs location and progress.
Wireless health usage and monitoring systems (Hums) are currently flying experimentally in four U.S. military rotorcraft. If the system proves successful, it could one day be standard equipment on all military and civilian helicopters for a price predicted to be 90 percent less than that of current wired systems, which cost up to $200,000 each.
UK air navigation service provider Nats and lobbying association Oil & Gas UK last month switched their North Sea multilateration system to the “operational” mode, thus improving offshore flight safety. Controllers can now see helicopters on their radar screens in areas that are beyond the 80-nm reach of land-based radar. The multilateration system uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to 16 offshore platforms.
FltPlan.com said it is developing an online safety management system (SMS) subscription service for smaller business aviation flight departments and operators. An online service was chosen because it ensures easy access by all from any location and helps with document control.
Responding to public complaints from Pentagon officials about the cost and progress of the Global Hawk program, Northrop Grumman has provided a robust defense.
Fifteen years after the concept was first mooted, NATO may finally acquire an alliance ground surveillance system (AGS). Northrop Grumman last month submitted a firm baseline proposal plus options on behalf of a transatlantic consortium that also includes EADS, Selex Galileo and a variety of smaller European companies.